New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has dismissed President Donald Trump’s executive orders as “laughable” and another chapter in the federal government’s botched response to the coronavirus outbreak.
The Democrat was particularly critical of President Trump’s announcement that states must pay part of the 400 US dollars weekly unemployment insurance benefits.
He told a telephone news conference that President Trump’s plan would likely cost New York state four billion dollars (£3 billion).
Today's third executive order provides for the continuation of expanded unemployment benefits. pic.twitter.com/SvMquVZzDM— The White House (@WhiteHouse) August 8, 2020
“The concept of saying to states, you pay 25% of the insurance, is just laughable,” Mr Cuomo said.
“It’s just an impossibility. So none of this is real on the federal side. This is going to have to be resolved.”
He said he did not know if President Trump was “genuine in thinking the executive order is a resolution or if this is just a tactic in the negotiation. But this is irreconcilable for the state. And I expect this is just a chapter in the book of Washington Covid mismanagement”.
Meanwhile, Mr Cuomo praised New Yorkers for driving down the rate of infections in the state so low that only .78% of 65,812 tests performed on Saturday came back positive.
He said the 131 individuals in intensive care units also represented the lowest number since the early days of the health crisis.
“It’s great news,” he said.
It was not all good though. Another seven deaths were recorded.
Mr Cuomo tried to keep the pressure on local authorities to enforce rules meant to keep crowds from performing at bars and restaurants.
He said state police and state liquor authority inspectors were filling gaps in local enforcement by issuing 26 citations to bars and restaurants on Saturday, including 16 in Queens.
“C’mon Queens,” he said, continuing the folksy style that has made him a frequent personality on the national coronavirus stage.
He also called out the New York Police Department, saying it needed to “step up and help in New York City”.
Mr Cuomo’s comments came as Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told a news conference that President Trump’s executive orders “do not come close to solving New York’s problems.”
“Meet with us,” he urged Republicans, saying Democrats will drop a trillion dollars from their demands if Republicans raise what they are willing to spend by a trillion dollars.