As the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus surpassed 40,000, President Trump on Sunday played a video clip of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo praising the federal government as a “great partner” in treating the coronavirus and ensuring his hard-hit state had enough capacity to handle a surge in hospital needs.
Mr. Trump relished the moment, after critics accused his administration of falling short in its support of states’ needs.
“He said some really good things. It makes people feel good,” Mr. Trump said of the Democratic governor’s comments.
The video, played from the White House briefing room, showed Mr. Cuomo hailing the federal government for, among other things, converting the Javits Convention Center into a makeshift hospital.
“Luckily, we didn’t need the 2,500 beds,” Mr. Cuomo said at his Sunday briefing, acknowledging that early models overshot need.
After the clip, Mr. Trump complained that his aides “left out the good part.”
“Good job, fellas,” he said.
It’s unclear what he meant, though the president likes to boast that he sent more than enough ventilators to New York.
Mr. Cuomo had pleaded for the machines, since they help people with a severe bout of COVID-19 breathe.
Pivoting from his disappointment, Mr. Trump said; “I just think it’s so good because it’s bipartisan.”
Mr. Trump’s staff later found the missing clip.
“Have we lost anyone because we didn’t have a bed, or we didn’t have a ventilator or we didn’t have health care staff? No,” Mr. Cuomo said.
Later, Mr. Trump said he played the clip because he was standing up for men and women who’ve done “an incredible job” fighting the virus, including the admirals, generals, doctors and nurses on the front lines.
When a reporter noted the Cuomo clip was exclusively about praise for his administration, the president said: “Nothing is about me.”