President Gerald Ford never literally told New York City to “drop dead,” as the famous headline goes, but President Donald Trump seems hellbent on making the city’s demise happen, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo.
During a Tuesday press briefing in which he had already railed against New York University for allowing a big college party at Washington Square Park and the city for slacking off on enforcement at restaurants and bars, the governor turned his attention to President Trump’s abandonment of his former hometown.
Speaking about the many “after-effects” of the COVID-19 pandemic upon New York — namely the economic crisis that left the city and state drowning in red ink — Cuomo lashed out at Trump and his Congressional colleagues who continue to insist on a new economic relief bill that omits any sort of funding for state and local governments.
“To not fund state and local governments is ludicrous to me,” Cuomo said, noting that the ignorance imperils first responders, schools and hospitals across the state providing basic assistance to the general public.
The governor compared the situation to Ford initially denying help to New York City during the fiscal crisis of 1975. That prompted the New York Daily News to run the infamous front page headline: “Ford to City: Drop Dead.”
Ford, however, changed his mind and eventually provided the fiscal aid that New York City sought. But Trump seems to have zero interest in saving New York this time, the governor said.
“What Ford did pales in comparison to what Trump is doing,” Cuomo remarked. “Not only is Trump telling the city to drop dead, Trump is actively trying to kill New York City.”
Continuing the “Drop Dead” motif, Cuomo’s PowerPoint presentation at Tuesday’s briefing featured slides of doctored front page covers listing all the ways that, the governor says, Trump is putting the screws to New York.
They include the SALT provision in the Trump tax reform law of 2017 that cost New York state about $14 billion in revenue; a refusal fund the next phase of the Second Avenue Subway project; failing to rubber-stamp the LaGuardia Airport AirTrain project and congestion pricing plans for Manhattan; refusing to fund the reconstruction of Amtrak’s Hudson River Tunnels; and pulling FEMA funding from the state for cleaning public transit and schools during the COVID-19 crisis.
Cuomo also tore into Trump over the ongoing spread of COVID-19 across the nation. While the infection rate in New York has remained below 1% for more than a month now, the virus is still exploding in 35 states of the Union — leading New York to order quarantines for travelers from almost all of them.
“This nation loses more people per day to COVID-19 than any other nation on the globe,” Cuomo said. “You know who did that? Donald Trump’s incompetence. And now they own’t provide the federal funding to help repair the damage from the ambush they created.”
The governor warned that the federal government needs to help New York and other state governments recover from the COVID-19 pandemic — or risk long-lasting damage to the national economy. He charged that Trump and Republicans “don’t want to provide a response, because they’re playing politics.”
“They don’t want to help Democratic cities and states,” he concluded.