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U.S. Nears 100,000 Coronavirus Deaths As States Reopen; New York Governor Holds News Conference After Meeting With Trump. Aired 1- 1:30p ET

Aired May 27, 2020 - 13:00   ET



JOHN KING, CNN HOST: I can hear the excitement of your voice. We certainly hope this goes off safe and as planned. Alexander (ph), thanks so much and thanks for joining us today as well. Again, that launch will be this afternoon. Stay with CNN for it.

Brianna Keilar picks up our coverage right now. Have a good afternoon.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: I'm Brianna Keilar, and I want to welcome viewers here in the U.S. and around the world. This is CNN's special live coverage of a world facing an uncertain future.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: From a deadly pandemic spanning the globe --

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Just about a month ago, a barn was being converted to a morgue.

This is a significant milestone for the people on Long Island making the step to phase one.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Here in Brazil, the numbers continue to get worse. For two days now, Brazil has had the worst number of deaths.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Heartache and demands for justice in Minneapolis.

To tear gas and crisis in Hong Kong, to a historic launch that may forever change the way humans go to space. CNN is everywhere.


KEILAR: And we begin with America on the verge of reaching a crushing reality in this crisis. 100,000 lives cut short by the coronavirus. At this hour, the death toll is 99,123, 99,123 people taken from their families in just four months. Infections are approaching 1.7 million.

And as the march to reopen also progresses, all 50 states are relaxing restrictions to begin to revive economies. This is the map showing the trends of each cases, of new cases in each state. Overall, there is a gradual downward trend of daily new infections, but notice that their areas define this. There is an uptick in new cases from last week to the previous week in some places. 14 states are in shades of red.

Let's listen to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo right now.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): -- Washington's history and the legacy. And I want to thank Michael Friedman very much, who is the President of the National Press Club, thank him for his hospitality and courtesy for having us here today.

We are in Washington. I spent eight years in Washington during the Clinton administration. The secretary of Housing and Urban Development came down at the beginning of the Clinton administration, stayed until the end, lived in Virginia. That's where I got my southern accent. Really, southern queens, but -- and we had good discussions today and we'll be heading back, But we wanted to do a briefing from Washington so it was timely.

And let's talk about some facts as to where we are. Number of hospitalizations in New York are dropping. The total change in hospitalizations is down and continuing to drop. The intubations are down, and that's a very good sign. It's rare that good things happen after an intubation. And the number of new cases is down, which is very encouraging news. These are the number of new cases that are walking through the door.

In terms of number of New Yorkers that we have lost, 74 yesterday, which is just about what it was the day before, which is -- the day before was an all-time low at 73. 74 is not as good as 73, but it is all headed in the right direction. Again, only in this time of crisis would 74 deaths be anything less than truly tragic news. But when you have gone through what we have gone through, it's a sign that we're headed in the right direction.

And we are, when you look at the curve in the State of New York, we are down. We're on the other side of the mountain, as we say. And the decline is continuing. That's different than what we're seeing in some other parts of the nation, where you see the curve either going up or just starting to flatten. So, we're pleased with the progress that we're making in New York and we're ready to go to the next phase, open a new chapter.

Memorial Day is often a time when society transitions. Memorial Day, normally we're getting ready for the summer and people are starting to think about summer vacations and summer activity. We have that on a moderated basis in New York, but it's also a time of transition for us. And we're transitioning to a new chapter on reopening, restarting the economy.

This is all a situation that has never happened before, so this is a first case for all of us.


And we're trying to learn as we go along. And we don't want to just reopen the economy. We want to have a really smart reopening. We want to watch those numbers as we go forward. And we want to reopen the economy to make it stronger than it ever was before. How do you learn from this? And that's the beginning of the new chapter that we're going to write.

And we started yesterday by reopening the stock exchange in New York, where the stock exchange actually had people in the building, rather than just electronically. We're doing it on the numbers. Numbers matter. This is not about politics. This is about science, right? We're fighting a virus. The virus is not a Democratic virus. It's not a Republican virus. It's a virus. And viruses respond to science. And science is about facts and about numbers.

And that's how we're doing it. We're doing it on the metrics. We're looking at the hospitalization rate. We're looking at the death rate, how many new people are coming in the door into hospitals, how many hospital beds do we have available, how many ICU beds do we have available?

Do we have testing in place and do we have tracing in place? Just take the politics out of it, right? Just do it on the facts and do it on the science, and that's what we're doing in New York.

And then you wouldn't reopen everything immediately. You would do it in phases and you would phase it by the most important businesses, the most essential businesses that pose the lowest risk first, and that's exactly what we're doing. And we then have several phases for the actual business openings.

But we're in Washington, and the parameter is what should states be doing and what should the federal government be doing. I understand that states are responsible for the reopening. That's been the position of the states. It's also been the position of the federal government.

So, states are doing reopening. States are responsible for testing. States are responsible for tracing. States are responsible for their healthcare system. States are responsible for the enforcement of all of the procedures around reopening.

But at the same time, the federal government has a role to play, and the federal government has to do its part as we work our way through this crisis. And they cannot be a national recovery if the state and local governments are not funded.

That is a fact. Washington is now debating their next bill that would aid in the reopening and the recovery. Prior bills have helped businesses, large businesses, small businesses, hotels, airlines, all sorts of business interests. That's great.

But you also have state and local governments, and state governments do things like fund schools and fund hospitals. Do you really want to cut schools now? Do you really want to cut hospitals now, after what we've just gone through, when we're talking about a possible second wave, when we're talking about a fall with possible more cases? Do you really think we should starve state governments and cut hospitals? Would that be smart?

Do you really want to cut local governments right now? That's cutting police. That's cutting fire. Is now the time to savage essential services? And don't you realize that if you do this, if you cut state and local governments and you cause chaos on the state and local level, how does that help a nation striving to recover economically?

The COVID states, the states that bore the brunt of the COVID virus, they're one-third of the national GDP. How can you tell one-third of the country to go to heck and then think you're going to see an economic rebound? Also, state government, state economies, local economies, that's what the national economy is made of. What is the national economy but for a function of the states? There is no nation without the states.


They tend to forget that in this town. But it's the obvious fact.

And we've made this mistake before. Again, look at history. If you don't learn from the mistakes, you're going to repeat the mistakes. It's that simple. And we have seen in the past what has happened when state and local governments were savaged and how it hurt the national recovery.

"Wall Street Journal," not exactly a liberal publication, makes the point that on the economy, cuts to employment and spending likely to weigh on growth for years. So, even if you believe the rhetoric, we're about reopening, we're about getting the economy back, great. Then if that's what you believe, you would provide funding to the state and local governments.

The Federal Reserve Chairman, Powell, very smart man, respected on both sides of the aisle, said, we have evidence the global financial crisis in the years afterward where state and local government layoffs and lack of hiring did weighed on economic growth. We want to reopen the economy. We want to get this national economy better than ever. Fine. Then act accordingly and act appropriately.

This hyperpartisan Washington environment is toxic for this country. You have people saying, well, we don't want to pass a bill that helps Democratic states. It would be a blue state bailout, is what some have said. Senator McConnell stopping blue state bailouts. Senator Scott, we're supposed to go bail them out? That's not right. On Fox T.V., Laffer, you want us to give our money to Cuomo and New York? Hello, not this week.

First of all, this is really an ugly, ugly sentiment. It is an un- American response. We're still the United States of America. Those words meant something. United States of America. First of all, Mr. Federal Legislator, you're nothing without the states, and you represent the United States. Not only is it ugly, it is False. It is wholly untrue what they are saying, 100 percent.

And there are facts, if you want to pose the question, which is, I think, divisive at this period of time. But if you want to pose the question, what states give money and what states take money, right?

There is a financial equation that is the federal government. If you want to ask what states give money to other states and what states take money from other states, that's a question that Senator McConnell and Senator Scott and Mr. Laffer don't really want to ask, because the truth is totally the opposite of what they're saying.

You look at the states that give more money to the federal government than they get back -- you know the top, what they call donor state? You know what one state pays in more to the pot than they take out of the federal pot than any other state in the United States? It's the state of New York. New York pays more every year, $29 billion more than they take back.

You know the second state? New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, California. Every year, they contribute more to the federal pot. You know who takes out more than they put in from that pot? You know whose hand goes in deeper and takes out more than they put in? Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, Alabama, Florida.


Those are the facts. Those are the numbers.

The great irony is, the conservatives want to argue against redistribution of wealth. Why should you take money from the rich and give it to the poor? That's exactly what you are doing. That is exactly what you have done every year. So it's only the redistribution unless you wind up getting more money, then it's fine, then it's not redistribution.

Take from the rich, give to the poor. That's redistribution. Yes, unless you're the poor, Senator McConnell, Senator Scott, because you were the ones who have your hand out. You're the ones who are taking more than others. Redistribution, you're against it, except when the richer states give you more money every year.

And then the great hypocrisy, they actually made the redistribution worse when they passed three years ago a provision ending what's called state and local tax deductibility. That didn't level the playing field.

What they did was they took the states that were already paying more money into the federal government, the, quote/unquote richer states, and they increased the money they were taking from the richer states.

They took another $23 billion from California, another $14 billion from New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois, Connecticut. The hypocrisy is so insulting, because when you start to talk about numbers, there are still facts.

And people can still add and people can still subtract. And they know what they put in and they know what they take out. And I know it's Washington, D.C., but the truth actually still matters. And Americans are smart. And they find out the truth. Even in the fog and the blather of Washington, D.C.

So my point to our friends in the Congress, stop abusing New York. Stop abusing New Jersey, stop abusing Massachusetts and Illinois and Michigan and Pennsylvania. Stop abusing the states who bore the brunt of the COVID virus, through no fault of their own. Why did New York have so many cases? It's nothing about New York. It's because the virus came from Europe and no one in this nation told us.

We were told the virus is coming from China. It's coming from China. Look to the west. Yes, well, they missed it. We were looking to the west. it came from the east. The virus left China, went to Europe.

Three million Europeans come to New York York, land in our airports, January, February, March, and bring the virus. And nobody knew. It wasn't New York's job. We don't do international global health. It didn't come from China. It came from Europe. And we bore the brunt of it.

And now you want to hold that against us because we bore the brunt of a national mistake? And because we had more people die, we lost more lives, you want to now double the insult and the injury by saying, well, why should we help those states?

Those states had more COVID deaths. That's why you're supposed to help those states, because they did have more COVID deaths. And this is the United States. And when one state has a problem, the other states help.

I was in the federal government for eight years. When Los Angeles had earthquakes, we helped. When the Midwest had the red river floods, we helped. When Florida had Hurricane Andrew, we helped. When Texas had floods, we helped. When Louisiana had Hurricane Katrina, we helped.


We didn't say, well, that's Louisiana's fault. They had the hurricane. Well, that's Texas' fault. They had the floods. It was nobody's fault, and we were there to help, because that's who we are, and that's what we believe.

What happened to that American spirit? What happened to that concept of mutuality? You know, there is still a simple premise that you can't find in a book, and Washington hasn't written regulations for, called doing the right thing.

There's still a right thing in life, the right thing you feel inside you. The right thing is a calibration of your principle and your belief and your soul and your heart and your spirit, and we do the right thing in this country, not because a law says do the right thing, but because we believe in doing the right thing, as individuals, as people.

We believe doing right by each other, by living your life by a code where you believe you are living it in an honorable way, acting on principle, and you're doing the right thing.

Why can't the government? Why can't the Congress reflect the right thing principle that Americans live their life by? Pass a piece of legislation that is honorable and decent and does the right thing for all Americans. Why is that so hard? And if you want to talk about reopening the economy, then do it in a productive way. People think this economy is just going to bounce back. I don't think it's going to bounce back. I think it's going to bounce back for some, and I think there's going to be collateral damage of others.

We already know that tens of thousands of small businesses closed and probably won't come back. We already know that the large corporations are going to lay off thousands and thousands of workers and they're going to use this pandemic as an excuse to get lean, to restructure and they're going to boost their profits by reducing their payroll. We know it. We've been there before.

We saw this in the 2008 mortgage crisis, where the government bailed them out, the big banks that created the problem, and they used the money to pay themselves bonuses and they laid off their workers. They're going to do the same thing again.

That's why I propose the Americans first legislation that said a corporation can't get a dime of government bailout unless they rehire the same number of workers they had pre-pandemic as post. Don't take a gift from the taxpayer and then lay off Americans who are going to then file for uninsurance paid for by the taxpayers. Don't do that again.

And if you want to be smart, we know that there's work to do in this nation. We've known it for years. You can fill a library with the number of books on the infrastructure and the decay of our infrastructure and how many roads and bridges have to be repaired, how this nation is grossly outpaced by nations across the world in terms of infrastructure and airports and development. Now is the time to stimulate the economy by doing that construction and doing that growth. If you want to supercharge the reopening, that's how you do it.

This nation was smart enough to do it before. We did it in the midst of the great depression. We created 8 million jobs. We built an infrastructure that we're still living on today. We're still living on the infrastructure built by our grandparents, not even our parents. What are we going to leave our children?

And now is the time to do it. We have major infrastructure projects in New York that are ready to go, that are desperately needed, that were desperately needed 30 years ago. Build them now. Supercharge the reopening. Grow the economy. That's what we would do if we were smart.

You're not going to have a supercharged economy, you're not going to see this nation get up and start running again unless we do it together.


That's states working with other states. That's a federal government that stands up and puts everything else aside. They were elected to provide good government. Nobody elected anyone to engage in partisan politics. There was a time when as a nation we were smart enough to say, you want to play politics? That's what a campaign is for. Run your campaign against your opponent. Say all sorts of crazy things. That's crazy campaign time. But when government starts, stop the politics and do what's right and smart.

Don't play your politics at the expense of the citizens you represent. There is no good government concept anymore. It's politics 365 days a year. From the moment they're elected to the moment they run again, it's all politics. And that is poison.

We have to get to a point, if only for a moment, if only for a moment, if only for a moment in response to a national crisis, where we say, it's not red and blue, it's red, white and blue. It's the United States. And we're going to act that way. In New York, we say that by saying New York tough. But it's America tough, which is smart and united and disciplined and loving, and loving. That's what makes America America.

Thank you for having me. Any questions?

REPORTER: -- to Washington. You met with the president, obviously. And I was wondering, you were talking about stopping politics. There are obviously a lot of political issues between you and the president, in particular the gateway project with New Yorkers on Trusted Traveler. I was wondering, have you spoken about that and what his reaction was to what you originally classified as (INAUDIBLE) actions.

CUOMO: Yes, there are political differences between myself and t he president. He'll say it. I will say it. I don't even need to say it. You can go do a Google search and you can find 400 nasty tweets about political differences between myself and the president.

I said to the president when this started, forget all that. We'll have political differences and there will be a time to wear our political differences. Not now. This is about getting things done for the country and getting things done for New York. And I have stayed 100 miles away from any political anything all through this.

Personally, I went to great lengths to say to the people of my state, I have no political agenda. Personally, I have no political agenda. I'm not running for anything else. I'm not going anywhere. I don't want to go to Washington.

There's no personal agenda that you have to worry about and calibrate, well, is he doing what's right or is he doing what's right for him? Does he have a self-interest? I have no interest. I'm doing nothing. I'm governor of New York. That's all I'm doing. Just to take the politics out of it.

And I said to the president when this started, put the political stuff aside. Let's just figure out what we have to do, which is a heck of a mandate, since nobody's ever done it before, and let's do it. And that's what we've been doing. At the meeting we just had, it was the same way. It was not about politics. It was not about any of that. It was about how do we supercharge the

reopening, especially in New York, which has been hardest hit. How do we take some of these big infrastructure projects that have been sitting around for a long time, which if we were all smarter and better, we would have done 30 years ago, and actually get them up and running, because we have to do this work anyway, and because we need the jobs now more than ever?

The cross-harbor tunnels, not to get in the weeds, the gateway project is a larger project. It's a $30 billion project. It has many different components. The essence of the project are two tunnels that go across the Hudson River that carry Amtrak trains, by the way. Federal government owns Amtrak. The state has nothing to do with Amtrak. And these Amtrak trains come in through New York, can serve the entire northeast.

And the trains go through two tunnels.


Those two tunnels are old. They're dilapidated. If there's a problem in those tunnels, you stop train service to the entire Northeast United States.