News and Commentary

Governor Cuomo: Trump Is Right To Question W.H.O., Has ‘Effectively’ Used Defense Production Act

   DailyWire.com
NEW YORK, NY, UNITED STATES - 2020/03/30: Following the arrival in New York City of the U.S. Naval hospital ship Comfort, NY State Governor Andrew Cuomo is seen during a press conference at the field hospital site at the Javits Center.
Albin Lohr-Jones/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo said during a coronavirus press conference on Friday that he believes that President Donald Trump has used the Defense Production Act “effectively,” and that the president is right to question the World Health Organization about its response to the coronavirus pandemic that originated in China.

“Federal government has something called the Defense Production Act, DPA they call it, which I’ve been saying from day one is a very powerful tool for the federal government to use when they need to secure a product in the defense of this nation,” Cuomo said. “This is in the defense of this nation. The federal government has used it effectively. They’ve used it in this situation more as a point of leverage than anything else. Basically saying to a company, ‘We need you to do this. We do have the Defense Production Act that we could use.'”

A few minutes later, Cuomo brought up Trump’s decision to question the WHO over its response to the outbreak in China.

“A question that I’ve had from day one and when you look back at this, where were the horns that should have been triggered back in December and January?” Cuomo asked. “Where were the warning signs? Who was supposed to blow the whistle? The president has asked this question, and I think he’s right.”

“The president, his answer is the World Health Organization should have been blowing the whistle,” Cuomo continued. “I don’t know enough to know if that’s right or wrong, but I know the question is right, and sometimes the question is more important than the answer. How did this happen? I mean, I still want to know how this happened because the warning signs were there, and if you don’t know the answer, then how do you know it’s not going to happen again? Right? Fool me once.”

WATCH:

TRANSCRIPT:

Federal government has something called the Defense Production Act, DPA they call it, which I’ve been saying from day one is a very powerful tool for the federal government to use when they need to secure a product in the defense of this nation. This is in the defense of this nation. The federal government has used it effectively. They’ve used it in this situation more as a point of leverage than anything else. Basically saying to a company, “We need you to do this. We do have the Defense Production Act that we could use,” but we need an unprecedented mobilization where government can produce these tests in the millions. New York State Department of Health is doing several thousand. We have 9 million people. We want to get back to work. You need more than several thousand tests per week if this is going to happen anytime soon.

Private sector companies on their own, I don’t believe will be able to come to scale. We’re working with the private sector companies. They have the tests, but they don’t have the capacity to come to scale. You’re going to need government intervention to make that happen and the federal government is in the best position to do that. New York state offers to be a full partner with the federal government. We do have the largest number of cases in New York. New York is an economic engine. I can’t do it as a state. If I had a Defense Production Act in the state, I would use it. I would use it. I don’t have that tool. The federal government does. Any way we can partner with the federal government to get these tests up to scale as quickly as possible, we are all in. I’d like to operate as a coalition with New Jersey and Connecticut because we are the Tri-state area.

I’ve spoken to Governor Murphy of New Jersey. I’ve spoken to Governor Lamont of Connecticut. They would join in a testing coalition, so I asked the federal government if you are willing to step in and use the federal powers, New York state, New Jersey and Connecticut would partner with the federal government and let’s get the testing up to scale quickly so we can start to build that bridge to reopening the economy. Second on reopening, you need a federal stimulus bill. You need a federal stimulus bill. They passed a couple already, but you need a fair federal stimulus bill that is not a political pork barrel bill, right? You know where the cases are. You know where the need is. I understand the political dynamics of the US Senate, but this is not a time to be passing bills that really are to make sure your home state gets enough funding.

That’s not what this is about. This is about helping the country come back and focusing on the need. When I said the bills were unfair to New York, the passed bills, it’s not because I’m just advocating for New York. Look at the need, look at where the cases are, look at where the damage has been done. The federal government is trying to address that damage. You know where it’s been done. Look at the chart on where the cases exist. Look at the number of deaths, the number of cases, the number of hospitalizations and help those places come back and come back quickly. That’s what the stimulus bill is supposed to be doing. Also, let’s make sure we’re learning from what we just went through and are going through, okay, because there are lessons that I think we all should be aware of over the past few months and before you take a step forward, let’s make sure we know what we’re stepping into. A question that I’ve had from day one and when you look back at this, where were the horns that should have been triggered back in December and January?

Where were the warning signs? Who was supposed to blow the whistle? The president has asked this question and I think he’s right. The president, his answer is the World Health Organization should have been blowing the whistle. I don’t know enough to know if that’s right or wrong, but I know the question is right and sometimes the question is more important than the answer. How did this happen? I mean, I still want to know how this happened because the warning signs were there and if you don’t know the answer, then how do you know it’s not going to happen again? Right? Fool me once. January, you go back and look at the headlines in January and you see questions and you see warnings. Now, they were all over the map, but we saw what was happening in Asia. We saw what was starting to happen in Europe. Where were the international experts saying, “Well, if this is happening there, this is what we should expect to happen in the United States or prepare to happen in the United States.” January, February, you still had sources in this country saying basically there’s nothing to worry about. How did that happen and did we really need to be in a situation where the United States winds up with a higher number of cases than the places that went before? We sat here and we watched China. China winds up having 84,000 cases. We wind up having 474,000 cases. I mean, how does that happen? We saw South Korea, they wind up with 10,000 cases. Italy, where we saw a collapse of the whole health system winds up with 143,000 cases.

I raise the question because the answer again, is less important than the question, but before we move forward, let’s make sure we’re not repeating the same mistake that we made, right?