President Donald Trump’s famously testy relationship with New York City (and its politicians) continues even as the coronavirus pandemic goes from bad to worse. And that relationship — as well as Trump’s relationships with Democratic governors in other parts of the United States — is the subject of two articles published this week in the Daily Beast and Politico.
Written by three reporters (Asawin Suebsaeng, Erin Banco and Sam Stein), the Beast’s article was published with the blunt headline: “Trump to New York: You’ve Been Mean to Me, Drop Dead.” The piece offers examples of the type of animosity Trump feels for his home town even as its number of coronavirus infections soars.
“As the coronavirus pandemic has deepened,” the reporters explain, “Democratic governors bearing the heaviest burdens are increasingly wary that if they complain too loudly about the federal response, they will anger Donald Trump and risk losing critical support during a life-or-death crisis.”
The reporters cite New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo as an example of a prominent Democrat who has had a tumultuous relationship with Trump but has nonetheless tried to be diplomatic with him during the coronavirus crisis. Tuesday, Trump parroted a far-right website’s headline accusing Cuomo of refusing to buy 16,000 ventilators in 2015 “for a pandemic.” Reading the rest of the blog’s headline, Trump went on to claim the New York governor “established death panels and lotteries instead.”
“It’s a two-way street. They have to treat us well too,” Trump said of New York.
“Under normal circumstances,” the Beast’s article notes, “such a screed would be cast aside as a classic bit of Trumpian shit-talking and thin-skinness. But these aren’t normal times. And Trump’s comment resonated not only for how callous it seemed, but also, for how manufactured the evidence was that he was citing.”
Cuomo, according to the Beast’s reporters, has often gone out of his way to be “gracious” to Trump during the coronavirus pandemic.
“In press conferences,” the reporters explain, Cuomo “has repeatedly thanked the president and noted that he and Trump speak often about what New York needs to battle the public-health epidemic. At other times, though, Cuomo has blasted the federal government — not necessarily Trump himself — for the delay and lack of much-needed essential medical supplies that health-care workers need to treat coronavirus patients.”
A Democratic operative, quoted anonymously, told the Beast, that Trump has ““been trying to kick the blame to the states.”
In an article published by Politico on March 24, journalist Rebecca Rainey reported that three states Trump had declared to be disaster areas — Washington, New York and California — had yet to receive “the disaster unemployment assistance that they expected to follow that designation.”
Rainey notes, “The disaster unemployment benefits, arguably the most crucial funds freed up by a disaster declaration, were not made available — even as Goldman Sachs estimated that jobless claims nationwide rose last week by more than 2 million.”
Quoted anonymously, a source Rainey describes as a “senior White House official” told Politico, “If you’re good and respectful to (Trump), he will treat you the same — it’s that simple. The president has always said that he fights back when he needs to, and the situation with (Cuomo) is no different. If you keep that in mind, their sort of seesaw relationship during (coronavirus) doesn’t come as a surprise.”
Rainey points out that New York State, Washington State and California all requested to be declared disaster areas: New York State on March 16, Washington State on March 19 and California on March 22.