Friday on MSNBC, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) said it was “disgusting,” the Trump administration used police, state troopers and National Guard members to move protesters out of at Lafayette Square to the president could visit St. John’s Church.
Partial transcript as follows:
WALLACE: Have you heard from Joe Biden today about taking your reform package and making it apart of a national platform? He was quick to come out and say that he did not support defunding the police but very much an advocate for the kinds of reforms you signed into law.
CUOMO: I didn’t speak to Mr. Biden about it today. But look, the — you have these hyperbolic political chance, right? Everybody agrees that you need a public safety function, right? That has to exist. But taxpayers are not–
CUOMO: — going to pay for a public safety function that they don’t trust. That’s what we learned. OK, then let’s actually seize the moment, and let’s redesign the police department. It’s been 50 years incoming. Redesign it for 2020, then fund it and force the community and the police to sit down and make that decision.
Force the local community to redesign it and pass a law. And use the state funding as an incentive/sanction to get them to actually do it. But it’s not — we’re in this political environment, Nicolle, they shouldn’t use tear gas, they shouldn’t use rubber bullets.
It’s not a one off. This is 50 years. It’s the fundamental injustice of the system. It’s called racism. It’s called the militarization of the police. That’s what has to be resolved.
WALLACE: You talked about the hyperbolic nature that the – the person who seems to have a real stake in it remaining — because you’re right. I mean, people are not really that far apart in not wanting to see militarized police forces in every city in this country.
But The New York Times today describes Donald Trump basically as a cultural relic. Is he doing harm at this moment where you’ve got 76 percent of the public who wants to see the kinds of reforms you signed?
CUOMO: I don’t think he’s relevant to this conversation. I think the people who listen to the president, listen to the president. And they always have, they probably always will. But I don’t think he’s relevant to this conversation.
I think he discredited himself with his actions right in front of the White House. I think using the military to set up a photo-op using a general, using a Cabinet secretary, to bring in military forces to clear peaceful protestors was disgusting.
I think they should be ashamed in the military for being part of that political stunt. It violates everything we believe as Americans. So, I think his credibility on this issue was gone as of that moment.
WALLACE: He’s also dealing himself out of relevance on the coronavirus front. We opened as a city on Monday. I’m a resident of New York City, so I was very happy about that.
How’s it going? How are our numbers holing up? And do you have any concerns about the size of the demonstrations?
CUOMO: You want to hear something remarkable? New York state —
CUOMO: — had the worst situation in the United States when we started, when it came to COVID, right? The highest number of cases per capita in this country, per capita on the globe, that was New York.
No fault of our own, the virus came from Europe, nobody told us. Everybody said the virus was coming from China. They were wrong – wrong, wrong. It was in Europe. But that’s why we had the number of cases. The flights came from Europe.
CUOMO: But we had the worst case scenario.
Today, we have the lowest transmission rate in the United States of America. I mean, that’s remarkable what the people of New York did. They went from the worst case to the lowest level of transmission of any state in the United States.
But, you look around Nicolle, it’s frightening. You see — 21 states are seeing increases. Fifteen states hit a new high. Reopen, reopen, reopen. Yeah, reopen. All those people come out. You increase the activity – there’s been very little control, very little monitoring, and the spike is back.
So who did you really help on this whole plan of expedited reopening? Reopen because you want to. It’s good for the economy. You saw the Dow Jones go up. You’ll see the Dow Jones come down just as fast if that spike goes up. The spike goes up, the Dow Jones goes down. It’s an inverse —
CUOMO: — and we’ve seen that over the past couple of days. And it’s happening all across the country.
So I’m just hoping that we keep our discipline in New York, and we keep that rate of transmission down. But it is a frightening place for this country, once again.
WALLACE: Yeah, I’m old enough to remember when – I believe it was Florida and maybe one other state — that was warning people against people coming from New York, warning them about us, and asking us to quarantine when we travel to their states.
Have you given any thought to asking people from any of the states spiking to take their temperatures, or to quarantine, or do anything when they come back into our state?
CUOMO: Well, wouldn’t that be karma? Wouldn’t it be karma if I went out and said, I’m thinking of quarantining – I won’t let those people from Florida come in – you know, they have a very high infection rate in Florida.
WALLACE: It’s terrible (ph), yeah.
CUOMO: I don’t want them coming here. I think I would do it, just one morning, just for the enjoyment of it. But no, I would not do it.
WALLACE: Well their cases are a black box, really. Yes.
CUOMO: So they did – by the way, the president of the United States talked about quarantining New York and New Jersey, don’t forget that.
WALLACE: I remember.
CUOMO: He talked about —
WALLACE: I remember.
CUOMO: — an enforced quarantine. Not since the Civil War – they were talking about blocking access to New York. You want to see a second Civil War? You would have if they did that.
Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN