President Trump took to Twitter early Monday to call out Governor Andrew Cuomo over an interview where the New York Democrat blamed the administration of being unclear in its response to the coronavirus and therefore contributing to the confusion at the state level.
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Trump accused Cuomo of using the virus to score political points after the governor told MSNBC that the federal government has been sending mixed messages. He used the availability of test kits as an example and said if the public doesn’t have faith in the federal government, then “there’s really a problem.”
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Trump retweeted a link to the interview and said, “There are no mixed messages, only political weaponization by people like you and your brother, Fredo.” Cuomo’s brother, Chris Cuomo, has a primetime show on CNN.
Trump appointed Vice President Mike Pence on Feb. 26 to lead the coronavirus response. To date, there are at least 21 U.S. deaths and more than 500 infections scattered over more than 30 states as the federal government struggles to meet demand for diagnostic testing kits.
Raul Perea-Henze, New York City’s deputy mayor for health, wrote a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying that the city is in dire need of more test kits. The Wall Street Journal reported that health officials in Washinton State have expressed similar concerns about these kits.
Some experts said they’ve been hoping for clearer and louder guidance from the government, to prod vulnerable people to take every possible step to avoid settings where they might more easily become infected.
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Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of tropical medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, last week warned U.S. lawmakers against minimizing the viruses risk for vulnerable people. During a Congressional hearing, he said the coronavirus “is like the angle of death for older individuals.”
Cuomo declared a state of emergency to bolster the medical response to the outbreak, as the statewide total doubled from the 44 cases heading into the weekend to 89.
Trump signed an $8.3 billion spending bill last week aimed at fighting the coronavirus outbreak, the culmination of a bipartisan effort by Congress and the White House to provide funds to federal agencies, as well as state and local governments, to battle the disease.
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“We’re doing well, but it’s an unforeseen problem,” the president said as he signed the legislation in the White House’s Diplomatic Reception Room.
Fox News’ Tyler Olson and the Associated Press contributed to this report