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Trump, Cuomo hold 'productive' meeting on testing

WASHINGTON – President Trump and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo enjoyed a short and apparently sweet meeting Tuesday at the White House that left both leaders putting their past disagreements behind them for the time being.

"I had a very productive meeting with Governor Cuomo, as you probably saw, to discuss his statewide testing strategy and how we can work together to help expand it, with the goal of doubling testing in the next few weeks," Trump said at his evening briefing.

Hours later, at a briefing in Albany, Cuomo lauded his session with the president.

"We had a meeting in the White House this afternoon, and it was very productive and it was positive," said Cuomo, adding that he and the president discussed the state's goal of doubling coronavirus testing from 20,000 a day to 40,000.

"The national manufacturers have said they have a problem with the supply chain to quickly ramp up those tests," Cuomo said. "They need swabs, they need vials and they need chemicals – quote unquote 'reagents'. That is where the federal government can help. States cannot do international supply chains.

"So, let the federal government take responsibility for that federal supply chain for the national manufacturers," Cuomo added. "And that's what we agreed (to) in this meeting."

In other words, it appears that Tuesday's talk was a remarkably different one than the exchange Trump and Cuomo had last Friday. Then – as Cuomo gave his daily briefing – Trump took to Twitter to say: "“Governor Cuomo should spend more time ‘doing’ and less time ‘complaining.’ Get out there and get the job done. Stop talking!”

Asked about that minutes later, Cuomo launched a minutes-long defense of the state's coronavirus efforts by saying of Trump: "“If he’s sitting home watching TV, maybe he should get up and go to work."

There was no such acrimony live and in person during Tuesday's meeting.

While Cuomo irked Trump last week by criticizing the president's actions on coronavirus testing, Trump said after his meeting with Cuomo that the two men are now, in essence, part of a team.

"Together we'll all work together to help them secure additional tests and we hope that this model will work with the other states as well," Trump said.

What's more, the president added: "I can say very honestly, with New York State and New York City, they've been terrific to work with."

Shortly after the meeting, in an interview on MSNBC, Cuomo stressed that any differences between him and the president are professional and not personal.

"Look, for the president and for myself, this is not about anyone's emotions," Cuomo said.  "Who cares what I feel, what he feels? We have a tremendous job that we have to get done and put everything else aside and do the job and that was the tone of the conversation – very functional and effective."

Also at the meeting, Cuomo said that state and local governments need an infusion of federal cash to cover their budget shortfalls amid the coronavirus crisis.

"I agree with him on that," Trump said.

The two men also agreed that metropolitan New York no longer requires the services of the USNS Comfort, the Navy hospital ship that was dispatched to the city to help with hospital patient overflow amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cuomo and Trump did not discuss a new study that indicated that hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug Trump and Cuomo have said could help as a possible coronavirus treatment, had no positive effect on patients suffering from Covid-19.

Nor did they discuss the president's insinuation earlier this month that New York City medical providers may be hoarding personal protective equipment.

"It was a passing comment and, you know, you can't – you can't rebut everything, so sometimes you let it go in life," Cuomo said on MSNBC.

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