New York governor calls Trump benefits executive order ‘laughable’

NEW YORK (AP) — New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Sunday dismissed United States (US) President Donald Trump’s executive orders as “laughable” and another chapter in the federal government’s botched response to the coronavirus as he praised New Yorkers for mostly good behaviour that has reduced the infection rate in his state.

The Democrat was particularly critical of Trump’s Saturday announcement that states must pay part of USD400 weekly unemployment insurance benefits.

He told a telephone news conference that Trump’s plan would likely cost New York state USD4 billion.

“The concept of saying to states, you pay 25 per cent of the insurance, is just laughable,” Cuomo said. “It’s just an impossibility. So none of this is real on the federal side. This is going to have to be resolved.”

He said he didn’t know if Trump was “genuine in thinking the executive order is a resolution or if this is just a tactic in the negotiation. But this is irreconcilable for the state. And I expect this is just a chapter in the book of Washington COVID mismanagement.”

File photo shows New York Governor Andrew Cuomo during a news conference in Tarrytown, New York. PHOTO: AP11

Meanwhile, Cuomo praised New Yorkers for driving down the rate of infections in the state so low that only 0.78 per cent of 65,812 tests performed last Saturday came back positive.

He said the 131 individuals in intensive care units also represented the lowest number since the early days of the health crisis.

“It’s great news,” he said.

It was not all good through. Another seven deaths were recorded.

Similar praiseworthy numbers also were reported in Nassau County, another one-time coronavirus hot spot where County Executive Laura Curran said only 27 of 5,314 people tested last Saturday were positive, representing a half-per cent rate of positive tests.

She said that although one death was reported — the first in two weeks — there were only 38 hospitalised patients with 10 in intensive care and only two on ventilators.