With the image still fresh in mind of Presdent Trump posing in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington,D.C., the other day while holding up a Bible and saying nothing about the killing of George Floyd or the ensuing protests around the country, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo held up a Bible of his own during his news conference in Albany today and proceeded to quote selected passages.
“If a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand,” Cuomo said quoting the Bible’s Mark 3:35, a clear reference to the divisiveness that exists in the U.S. today. “Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace and maintain it,” Cuomo continued, quoting Psalms 34:14. He then cited James 3:18, “The seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
“I think those words are appropriate for where we are today,” Cuomo said, before quoting himself as having said, “You can’t use the military as a political weapon.” Cuomo was bringing up Trump’s ordering the military to be deployed in the nation’s capital and approving of its use to disperse a peaceful crowd to clear the way for his walk to the church for Monday’s photo opportunity.
Cuomo also quoted Secretary of Defense Mark Esper as saying quite the opposite of what was done in Washington.
“The option to use active duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort, and only in the most urgent and dire of situations. We are not in one of those situations now. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act,” Esper had said.
Cuomo underscored one of his themes from yesterday that the peaceful protests of the death at police hands of George Floyd and others reflects righteous indignation and needs to be kept separate from the violence and looting perpetrated by a criminal cohort.
Cuomo was asked by a reporter what he makes of Trump’s recent flurry of Tweets that have been sharply critical of New York.
“Far be it from me to psychoanalyze the president of the United States,” Cuomo said. “It’s nothing new for the president. He’s not just attacked New York in Tweets. His policies have been vicious to New York. He changed the tax code in a way that increased the taxes in New York and other Democratic states. He has failed to do anything positive for New York. He’s gone out of his way to be negative to New York. Why? You know politics? Who knows? But the negativity, forget the Tweets. You know, who cares about the Tweets. It’s what he’s done to the peope of the state that bothers me. What he did with SALT. Refusing to fund urgent transportation projects; that hurts the entire Northeast.” Cuomo cited what he described as the punitive policy of kicking New Yorkers out of the Trusted Traveler Program for airport security clearance.
“From day one in his adminisration you have seen negative, hostile, government acts,” Cuomo said. “The most recent is the refusal to fund state governments, which is negative for New York.”
Cuomo noted that he has thanked Trump for doing some good things, such as having the Army Corps of Engineers build an auxiliary hospital facility at the Javits Center in Manhattan in case the state’s hospital system became overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases.
Cuomo said that the situation regarding the protests in New York City last night was a vast improvement over the previous night, with only minor incidents of looting and confrontations with police. He emhpasized that his harsh criticism of the handling of the previous night’s clashes was not directed at the New York police personnel in the field but at the management and the way the police had been deployed.
Cuomo pointed out that this is day 95 of dealing with the COVID-19 crisis and day 10 since the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. He defined these as perilous times with an atmosphere that is both racially and politically charged.
Cuomo reported that the number of lives lost yesterday to the virus dropped to 49, a new low since he has been doing his daily briefings. There were 12 deaths in nursing homes and 37 in hospitals.
Statewide there have been a total of 24,079 COVID-19 deaths, according to statistics obtained this afternoon from the state Department of Health.
Deaths that took place in Westchester now total 1,510, with 1,381 Westchester residents falling victim to the virus. There have been 501 Rockland residents killed by the disease. There were no new deaths in Putnam again yesterday, with the total remaining at 60. Orange County deaths rose by one to 379. Dutchess County’s death count also went up by one, reaching 151.
New York has had 374,085 people test positive for the virus. There were 33,691 cases identified in Westchester, 13,259 in Rockland, 1,264 in Putnam, 10,460 in Orange and 3,951 in Dutchess.