New York governor Andrew Cuomo gave his first interview on a late night show Wednesday night to talk about his experience with the coronavirus pandemic on “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah.” The interview took up much of the episode, and of course Cuomo touched on one of the big topics of the week: his meeting with Donald Trump at the White House on Tuesday.
Noah prompted Cuomo by asking if the meeting was productive at all, and what the status is on his relationship with Trump.
“Well, the relationship between myself and the president is, ah, the president doesn’t like me. That is the relationship,” Cuomo began. “It is unambiguous. It is honest, it is open. And he doesn’t like my politics, let’s say. And we have been at political loggerheads many times over the past few years. If you look at his Twitter account, you’ll see my name quite often. None of it good, Trevor. None of it good. And I’ve sued the federal government a number of times. So, it’s open and it’s not necessarily loving.”
But despite that, Cuomo said, his meeting with Trump actually went pretty well.
“Having said that, we had a meeting in the White House, and it was a very productive meeting. And I don’t mean in diplomatic, conceptual talk. It was an honest, open, granular, detailed conversation about this subject of testing, which is totally new for everyone,” Cuomo said. “It’s an impossible undertaking because the numbers are just so extraordinary and there’s so much urgency to it. But we had a very honest conversation, and we went through what is testing, and what should the state do, and what should the federal government do. And we basically allocated tasks. So it was a very positive conversation.”
Cuomo even went so far as to compliment Trump for being able to put aside their personal feelings about each other, for that one meeting at least.
“I give them credit because it’s hard to actually sit down with someone who you have differences with and say, ‘Put that all aside and let’s just do our jobs here, our respective jobs, because it’s bigger than we are.’ And that’s what yesterday was,” Cuomo said. “It was, ‘Forget everything else. We’re talking about life and death. We’re talking about the profound moment of our history that we will experience, and we have a job to do because we’re in a position and let’s just do it and forget everything else.’ And that’s the way it should be.
“Who cares how he feels or how I feel? Who cares about how I feel about him personally? My feelings are irrelevant, my emotions are irrelevant. Just do the job. Who cares about what I think or what he thinks? And that’s what yesterday was.”
Trump and Cuomo have been arguing publicly for weeks over the basic handling of the pandemic, particularly over access to much needed protective gear for essential workers and what Cuomo and other state governors have said is an indifferent or divisive approach by the White House. But that, for now, appears to be tabled. You can catch the interview in the video embedded up at the top of this article.