Jun 2, 2020
NY Governor Andrew Cuomo June 2 Press Conference Transcript
Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo held coronavirus press briefing on Tuesday, June 2. Cuomo says looters and protesters are separate groups: “We can’t blur the lines.”
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Governor Andrew Cuomo: (00:03)
Let me introduce the people at the table with me from my far right, Major West, to my immediate right, Superintendent of the state police, Keith Corlett, to my left Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor. Yesterday was another long ugly day and night all across this country. New York state was not an exception. Today’s day 94 of the COVID pandemic. It’s day nine of the situation that we’re dealing with, with the killing of Mr. Floyd. And it’s the first time that we’ve spoken about these two situations that we’re dealing with now at the same time. And I think at this moment of confusion and unrest, the smartest thing is to take a step back and let’s gain a little perspective. And let’s just talk as people about this situation. I do a lot of reading, always have, about leadership in a crisis, especially government leadership in a crisis. When is government most important?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (01:25)
It’s most important at a time of crisis, day in and day out. It does what it does, sometimes better, sometimes worse, but when it really matters is in the middle of a crisis. Now, it depends on what type of crisis we have. Some crises, government can take care of on its own. Some crises I can take care of on my own, operational crises, internal crises. But the really difficult ones are the social crises where it’s not really about government, it’s really about society, and it’s really about people. And people have to handle the crisis. Those are the ones that really test, not just the capacity of government, the ability of government, the leadership of government, but they also test who we are as a people and how we respond as a people.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (02:19)
My strategy has been in this COVID crisis always, you go to the people, you use the people, it’s about them. They are the solution. So you inform the people, you give them the facts, you give it to them clearly, you give it to them without opinion, you give them the facts completely. So people know you’re being 100% open and honest. You then offer a plan after you give the facts, right? During this COVID crisis, I say, “Here are the facts,” and then I say, “Here’s my opinion.” I like to think the opinion is based on the facts, but people can agree or disagree, but offer a plan based on those facts and then ask for support of the plan. That’s what I’ve always done. That’s what we’ve done during this COVID crisis, which frankly has worked very well for the state. You look at the progress we have made. It’s breathtaking, how far we’ve come and how fast we’ve come.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (03:28)
This situation we have multiple crises that are colliding and that creates confusion and disorientation, and that’s where we are now. We have the COVID crisis that is still going on. At the same time, we have a new crisis, which is the civil unrest from the murder of Mr. Floyd. I believe that’s what it was. I believe it was a murder. And then to further compound the situation, you have an environment that is racially charged and politically charged. So you’re trying to deal with these two situations, which are very different in the middle of a dynamic in this country of racial division and a hyper-political environment and a nation that is more divided than it has been at any time in my lifetime. Just the basic division in this country. So what do we do?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (04:38)
We first take a step back, gain some perspective and separate the issues. Separate the issues. You want to solve a problem? Let’s understand what we’re trying to solve for first. COVID-19, let’s take that issue and pull it out. On the COVID-19 issue, day 94, we have more good news today. Number of hospitalizations are down. Number of new COVID cases walking in the door is at an all time low, 154, 154. Congratulations to the people of the State of New York. Look at what you did. Look at the progress you made. God bless you. Number of deaths, just about as low as we have seen it. The numbers again are not 100% accurate given the system, but you see the overall direction. So we’re doing very, very well when it comes to dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (05:48)
Buffalo enters Phase II today, Western New York, Capital District should enter Phase II tomorrow. All the numbers indicate that. Our experts are going over the numbers, but there’s no reason to believe that the Capital District doesn’t go into Phase II tomorrow and I fully plan to affirm that later this afternoon. But Capital Region will go into Phase II, New York City’s on track, in the midst of all of this to open Phase I next Monday. Summer day camps are going to open on June 29th. We’re still reviewing the situation with sleep away camps. So that’s the COVID situation. That’s going very well. Civil unrest post Mr. Floyd’s killing. That’s also a complex situation with a number of levels. You have protestors who are outraged at what has happened. And you have criminal activity, looting, extremist groups who are using this moment for their own purposes and exploiting this movement and moment. Two very different things. On the protesters, they’re outraged. And by the way, I agree with them.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (07:22)
What happened to Mr. Floyd was a disgrace. It was repugnant to America. It was repugnant to any good policing perspective or strategy or approach. And it’s not just Mr. Floyd. This was not an isolated instance. It goes back to Rodney King and Amadou Diallo and Abner Louima and Eric Garner and cases just like it all across this country. And at one point, enough is enough and people say, “I can’t believe this is still going on after all of this time.” Rifle outrage, and by and large, the protesters have been peaceful. They’re upset, they’re angry, yes, but they have not been violent. They have been peaceful protests. And what do they want? They want overdue reforms. They want reforms that should have been done 30, 40, 50 years ago. They want America to be better.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (08:27)
I don’t believe we’ve yet specified an agenda, but you know the agenda forward. You know what we should learn from Mr. Floyd’s murder. So he did not die in vain. You need independent investigations of police abuse. You need discovery of records of police who are being investigated. How do you still allow chokeholds in the United States of America? Why can’t you have a national standard of what is excessive force?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (09:02)
And I think that Justice Agenda should even go forward. Because it’s not just about police abuse. There’s injustice in housing, there’s injustice in health care, there’s injustice in unemployment, there’s injustice in income distribution, there’s injustice in education. I would make education equity part of that agenda. I would make child poverty part of that agenda. And I wouldn’t wait for next year. I think the Congress should pass those laws now. That’s all outrage at what happened at Mr. Floyd’s killing and how do we learn and move forward and reform? And that’s what the protest is talking about. And that is what this nation is all about. The right to protest, the right to air grievances, and the right to raise issue so government responds. That’s one situation.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (10:06)
There’s a totally different situation that has nothing to do with the protestors. People see this moment and they exploit it, and that is criminal activity and that is looting. That is people breaking store windows going in and stealing. That’s called criminal activity. They have no right to wrap themselves in the flag of righteous indignation of Mr. Floyd’s murder. They demean Mr. Floyd’s murder by using this as an opportunity for criminal activity. And that’s what they’re doing. They’re opportunists who are seizing and exploiting the moment. New York City was looted. It was looted yesterday. In Manhattan, middle of Manhattan, also in communities of color, in the Bronx, and in Brooklyn, where we’ve spent years doing economic development in distressed communities. And these looters destroyed businesses that were essential to the community and the very people we’re trying to help. That is a very different situation.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (11:29)
The police must stop the looting and the criminal activity. That is the essence of the police force. They are supposed to protect the community, protect the property. They did not do that in New York City last night. They did not do that in New York City last night. And I am disappointed and outraged at what happened in New York City last night. Those looters, that criminal activity-
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (12:02)
Those looters, that criminal activity, hurt everyone. In the communities of the protestors, which are the communities that tend to be the poorest communities in New York City. And the police in New York City, were not effective at doing their job last night, period. They have to do a better job, but separate the protestors from the looting, they are two very different situations with two very different responses, two very different motivations. They’re different people, different issues. There is no comparison between those two. The looting, the criminal activity must be stopped immediately, period. Especially in New York City.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (13:13)
We’ve had activity all across the state, all manageable except in New York city. Now from the state’s point of view, I have offered all the mayors of the cities support, state police support or national guard, or both. We have 13,000 national guard who are on stand by, who can be deployed. We have the state police mobilized all across the state. They can be deployed anywhere in this thing. State police are working with many cities in upstate New York, New York City has said they don’t want or need the national guard, which would be a large scale support network that we could bring to New York City.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (14:08)
Most cities have enacted a curfew. The purpose of their curfew is to help the police deal with the looters. The curfew is not about the protestors. As I said, most of the protesters have been peaceful. They’ve been nonviolent. The curfew is not to harass protestors, it’s not to harass law abiding citizens. The curfews are designed to help the police deal with the looters. New York City had a curfew last night, obviously it wasn’t enough to help deal with the looters. The other cities also have curfews different times, different durations, all set locally by the mayors across the state. But what’s happening in this environment with all the politics, with all the anger and rage, all of these issues are getting blurred. COVID-19 is one issue. The outrage over Mr. Floyd’s murder is another issue. The protestors are one issue. Looters are a totally different issue. We can’t blur the line between these problems. Otherwise, you wind up solving nothing because one is blurring into the other. The protestors are separate from the looters. We have this hyper political moment we’re in the middle of an election seasons where everybody’s playing politics. And a lot of people want to say the looters are the protesters they won. They’re all criminals. No, they’re not. No, they’re not. It’s because you don’t want to address the Mr. Floyd murder. So it’s convenient to say they’re all looters. They’re not all looters.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (16:21)
They’re Americans who are outraged at what happened to Mr. Floyd. That’s who they are. This racial tension in this country. Suggestion, well, the protests are about African Americans who are upset. Yeah. African Americans are upset, but you know what? A lot of white people are upset. I’m white. And I’m upset. You look at those videos of the protests in Washington, D.C. those are young white faces. Predominantly. This is not a racial issue in that only African Americans are upset. This is anyone who saw that video is upset. Anyone. Don’t make this a racial issue and don’t make it a political issue.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (17:14)
And don’t blur the lines for your political purposes. To the protesters, for tonight, I ask them to be calm, be peaceful. So the police don’t have to spend a lot of time with the protestors and the police can do their job with the looting and the criminal activity. I also remind the protesters that their point is very important and their outrage is justified. But keep in mind during this moment, when you’re going out to protest, we’re still in the middle of the COVID pandemic. We’re just reopening Western New York. We’re just reopening the capital district. We’re going to reopen New York City, this coming Monday. Yes, protest. Yes, express your outrage, but be responsible because the last thing we want to do is see a spike in the number of COVID cases. And that is one of the complications of these compounding crises. I know a lot of the protesters are so annoyed.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (18:36)
They don’t want to hear about COVID anymore. COVID is yesterday’s news. No, COVID is still a problem. And COVID still kills also. So be mindful and respective of that. But look, it is a tough moment. There is no doubt, but there’s also no doubt that we have gone through many tough moments in this state and in this country. And we’ve gone through many long nights and we’ve dealt with many problems. We’ve dealt with this COVID virus, which frankly is one of the most frightening challenges that we have confronted. And we have a lot to do. And we have a lot to do at the same time, address the righteous outrage at Mr. Floyd’s murder. Yes, with a real reform agenda.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (19:32)
Yes. Do it now. Yes. When does change come in society? Change comes when the people are mobilized and outraged. That’s when change comes. That’s when we pass the gun safety in this state, that’s when we passed marriage equality in this state, that’s what happened in this nation after the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. That’s what happened after the great depression. Those are the moments of great change. And this can be a moment of great change and seize the moment. At the same time, we have to heal the divisions. We’re not black and white. We’re Americans. We’re not Democrats and Republicans. We’re Americans.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (20:22)
You’re not going to address these challenges, if you keep dividing, it’s not going to happen. At the same time, we have to protect our community and property. The looting, the criminal activity has to be stopped. Police have to do their job, and we have to help the police do their job. And at the same time, we still have to stop the spread of COVID-19. Wow, all those things at the time? Yes. Yes. All separate issues, all difficult, but also all doable. Just gain some perspective, separate the issues, deal with each one, keep the politics and the ugliness and the racism out of it. Use this.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (21:26)
We’re going to do it because we’ve done it before. And because that’s what it means to be New York tough, right? Smart, smart. Keep your perspective. Separate the issues. Deal with the facts. Let’s deal with facts. Okay? Not hyperbole, not rhetoric, not showmanship, not photo opportunities. Facts. Give me the facts. Let’s be United. Don’t use this moment with all these problems, to play your politics. Don’t do it. Don’t use this moment when people are scared and people are angry and be divisive, don’t play to the fear. Don’t do that. Not when the nation is on this precarious edge, don’t do that. That’s the one weak spot for this nation always. E pluribus unum, we just put it on our state seal out of many, one, the enduring promise, the continuing challenge. How do you do it? We’re not black and white. We’re not democratic and republican. We’re not urban and rural. We’re America, stay United, stay, disciplined, and stay loving. You need the most love when things are the most difficult. And that’s where we are today.
You said the national guard is on standby. And this time I did hear what you said. Are you recommending that they come in to help the police in New York City? And secondly, how is that different than what President Trump said yesterday about having the U.S. military come into States?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (23:18)
Yeah. I think what the president was saying was he believes there should be a militarization of the police in essence. Use the military police, that’s what he did in Washington, D.C. He brought in the military to be the police. The first time in, probably over a century where you’ve used the American military against the American people. My option as governor, we have the national guard, I say to the cities in New York…
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (24:03)
I say to the cities in New York, I have National Guard who are available if you need them. I have state police who are available if you need them. New York City, which the president has tweeted about, he’s saying, well, I don’t know exactly what he’s saying in tweets, but the facts of the New York City situation are this. The mayor of New York City says he doesn’t need the National Guard and he doesn’t think they would be helpful and he can do it with the NYPD.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (24:48)
First, the NYPD and the mayor did not do their job last night, I believe that. Second, you have 38,000 NYPD people. It is the largest police department in the United States of America. Use 38,000 people and protect property. Use the police, protect property and people. Look at the videos. It was a disgrace. I believe that. I believe the mayor underestimates the scope of the problem. I think he underestimates the duration of the problem and I don’t think they’ve used enough police to address the situation because it’s inarguable, but that it was not addressed last night. Facts. This is a glass of water. This is not a glass of milk. It’s a fact. There’s still facts in life. What happened in New York City was inexcusable.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (26:17)
Well, the governor should use the National Guard in New York City. I’ve offered the National Guard. The mayor has said he can handle it with the NYPD. My option is to displace the mayor of New York City and bring in the National Guard as the governor in a state of emergency and basically you would have to take over the mayor’s job. You’d have to displace the mayor. A, I don’t think we’re at that point. B, that would be such a chaotic situation in the midst of an already chaotic situation. I don’t think that makes any sense.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (27:22)
I understand the president’s political point. I saw the theater yesterday. I understand his political point. He is Mr. Law and Order and he would bring in the military to put down these protests. The president doesn’t want to distinguish between the looters and the protesters. See the president doesn’t want to speak about the killing of Mr. Floyd. The president wants to talk about just looting because if he’s talking about looting, he doesn’t have to talk about the killing of Mr. Floyd. And he doesn’t want to talk about the killing of Mr. Floyd. And he doesn’t want to talk about reforming the justice system. He doesn’t want to talk about that. He wants to say, “They’re all looters.” They’re not all looters. That’s his political spin on all of this.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (28:26)
I’m doing government. Government versus political spin to do what he’s talking about, the governors should just bring in the National Guard over the mayors. You’d have to displace the mayor. That’s that’s practically, governmentally, how do you do that? You’d have to displace the mayor. I don’t think that has been done in a hundred years. Technically, the governor could remove a mayor, but you have to file charges and then there’s an acting mayor. It’s a whole, I don’t know if it’s ever been done.
Speaker 1: (29:09)
[crosstalk 00:29:09] that, right?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (29:11)
Speaker 1: (29:11)
You’re not recommending displacing the mayor.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (29:12)
Speaker 1: (29:12)
You don’t see a scenario where that [crosstalk 00:29:14]-
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (29:14)
No, I’m saying the president’s scenario is a political prop. It’s a political spin. Governors should go bring in the National Guard. The mayor says he doesn’t need the National Guard. Well, the governor should do it anyway. Well, what does that mean? How would that work legally or governmentally? Well, you kick out the mayor. You’d have to. You’d have to displace a mayor in the middle of this situation and file charges and have a hearing. Governmentally, it is absurd. Now, I don’t think, I’m not happy with last night. And the police did not do their job last night, but you have 38,000 NYPD. They have protected the city before in these situations. I’ve seen them do it before. I know they can do it because I have seen them do it. They did not do it last night. That is true. But I believe in the inherent capacity of the NYPD if managed and if deployed. That’s what I think hasn’t worked and that has to be fixed and it has to be fixed today. Stop the looting.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (30:51)
And I do believe the NYPD well deployed wouldn’t need the National Guard because they are trained to do this. Remember, the National Guard are not a trained military force. I’m sorry, trained police force. That’s not what they do, the National Guard. When we use the National Guard, we normally use them for labor related operations, giving out food, delivering food in New Rochelle during the coronavirus, snow removal, traffic management, storms, taking down trees, et cetera. But they’re not a trained urban police force. That’s not what they are. I do believe in the capacity of the NYPD, but I also believe it wasn’t done last night. I believe the president’s theory is all political spin and to actually do it governmentally legally, you’d make a bad situation worse.
Speaker 2: (32:06)
[crosstalk 00:32:06] You overruled the mayor earlier in the pandemic regarding closing schools. Why is this any different? Why can’t you utilize your emergency powers to bring in the National Guard? And also it’s now noon, DeBlasio, he has said that he didn’t need the National Guard around 11:30. Had you guys talked? And also will this impact the reopening of New York City on June 8th? But again, you’ve overruled the mayor on the closing of the schools, also several other orders that the city had announced in some semblance and then you issued an executive order. Why is this any different?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (32:39)
Yeah. Factually your question is not correct.
Speaker 2: (32:42)
In what sense?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (32:43)
I’ll tell you. I did not overrule the mayor’s decision on the school closing. The mayor had no legal authority to it. He was not overruled, he didn’t have the legal authority. When I did the state executive order, it gave me authority over all schools in the state, period. If the Buffalo school superintendent said, I think they should be opened or I think they should be closed, I’m not overruling him. He has no legal authority in the matter because the executive order gave me legal authority. He could have an opinion, but he has no authority. I didn’t overrule the mayor. He said, this should happen, except he had no authority to make the decision about the school. It is totally different.
Speaker 2: (33:51)
[crosstalk 00:33:51] What’s the difference, then, mayor? I mean, governor. Why can’t you come in and bring the National Guard? Why can’t you overrule the mayor?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (34:01)
Speaker 2: (34:02)
You literally would have to displace the mayor?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (34:04)
You would have to displace the mayor-
Speaker 2: (34:06)
Because of his obstinance, He doesn’t want to bring the National Guard? How did this work? Did he deny your offer?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (34:13)
No, he didn’t deny an offer. I’ve offered all the mayors the National Guard and state police. Some have accepted it, some haven’t. They make that determination. I get the politics of what your paper believes and what the president believes.
Speaker 2: (34:30)
[inaudible 00:34:30] my paper believes. It’s a question.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (34:33)
I get the politics and philosophy of your paper and the president, but governmentally, how would that work? You can’t have two police forces. Governor sends in the National Guard, that’s one police force. And then you have the NYPD, that’s a second police force. That’s called chaos and mayhem and people get hurt. There has to be one police force that’s managed. Legally, yes. Can you displace a mayor? Yes, a mayor can be removed. It has not happened. I can’t find the precedent, but theoretically, it is legally possible. It is a bizarre thing to try to do in this situation. I think it would make a bad situation worse. Also, I don’t think it’s necessary because I believe the NYPD can do this because the NYPD has done this. They have done numerous rioting situations in New York City and numerous looting situations in New York City and very difficult racial situations in New York.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (36:03)
… And very difficult racial situations in New York City. I’m older than you guys, but if you look back, you can Google this. They’ve gone through Crown Heights, they’ve gone through a lot of very difficult situations. NYPD is like five times the size of any other police department. They’re huge, 38,000. I think Los Angeles has something like 8,000 police officers. NYPD is a huge organization. I believe they can do it. They have to be told to do it. They have to be given the confidence and the support to do it. They have to be directed to do it. Police officers want to know that they’re supported and they know what the mission is and they’re going to be supported in doing it, but I believe they can do it. [crosstalk 00:36:58].
Speaker 3: (36:57)
Have you requested to send national guard members to DC?
Speaker 4: (37:02)
Have you spoken to Commissioner Shea, have you made your displeasure known to him?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (37:06)
I have not spoken to him today, I spoke to them yesterday.
Speaker 4: (37:09)
And when you say do your job, that’s a very, that’s a broad mandate. What would you like to see? Do you want to see more cops on the street? And could we open this up to the state police? What sort of law enforcement methods are they not performing that you would like to see them perform?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (37:21)
I think, look, I see again, do your job, do what you’ve done in the past. You know how you stop looting in the past and how you stop rioting in the past, do that again. Whatever you’re doing differently now, stop doing it and do what you did was effective. I think it’s the deployment. I think it’s the numbers. You have 38,000 police officers, deploy them. Give them the support. And look on the video tape to me, you see a lot of looting and not enough police presence.
Speaker 5: (38:02)
Superintendent Corlett, what would you say? What would you do differently if you were running the NYPD?
Superintendent Corlett: (38:08)
The NYPD is a very well trained professional police department. It’s very well run. They’re one of our best law enforcement partners. We’ve offered to help send in, we’ve offered help to the communities upstate in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, Newburgh. And we stand ready to help the NYPD at any time, but that’s really a decision made by the political-
Speaker 5: (38:35)
What are they doing it wrong?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (38:36)
What are they doing wrong is people was rampant looting across the city last night that they did not stop and that was their job. That’s what they did wrong.
Speaker 6: (38:46)
Were you asked by the president to send national guard troops to DC? If so, how many requested? If you sent troops, how many were sent and why? If you denied the request, why was that decision made?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (38:57)
We have the national guard in this state on standby if we need them in this state. And we’re not in a position at this point to offer a national guard assistance to any place outside of the state, because we may need them. [crosstalk 00:39:14].
Speaker 6: (39:11)
Were you asked by the president to do so?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (39:16)
I don’t know what requests they’ve gotten, but I can tell you this. I wouldn’t grant any request to send national guard out of this state at this time, because I want them in this state in case we need them.
Speaker 7: (39:30)
The Medicare chief says that your state did not follow federal protocol when COVID patients were sent back to nursing homes. Do you have a response to that assertion?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (39:42)
Say that again.
Speaker 7: (39:43)
The nation’s medicare chief, Seema Verma, says New York state did not follow the federal guidelines in releasing COVID patients back to the nursing homes.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (39:54)
Yeah, I think that’s exactly wrong. We’ve read you the federal regulations before. I don’t have them with me. Do you know what this is about?
Melissa DeRosa: (40:03)
Yeah, it’s just wrong. And this is not a question of opinion. And I know that there’s a lot of politics going on behind the scenes in Washington right now in the COVID response, but there are words written down on a piece of paper and you can read them yourself. I read them in a prior press briefing. I know they’re hanging their hat on saying, but they said that you have to make sure that the nursing homes are able to accept the patients and properly care for them.
Melissa DeRosa: (40:24)
That’s Title 10 of the New York State Code Rules and Regulations that governs administration of nursing homes. It says that plainly, nursing homes can only accept nursing home patients that they can properly care for. And in this instance, it meant being able to cohort patients, properly have PPE, et cetera. So it’s just not true, but I can give you again, the piece of paper that has the March 13th order written on it from CMS.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (40:48)
Looking on the COVID thing, I have worked very hard all through the COVID thing. Let’s take a step back, we’re dealing with the Greg Floyd murder in a hyper political environment. We were dealing with COVID in a hyper political environment, right? The hyper political environment didn’t just start. I worked very hard to stay away from the politics. I worked very hard to work with the president to do the best for New York, right? And I’ve said in this room 57 times, I’m not going to engage in politics. I said that politically about myself, about what I was thinking, maybe he’s going to run for this, maybe he’s going to run for that. That would then hurt my credibility. They want to politicize the COVID handling between Democratic and Republican politics. That’s what they’re trying to do. That’s what they’re trying to do with the nursing home issue.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (41:53)
They’re trying to politicize it. I will not do it. Read words because there are still facts. What they often try to do in the political environment is just blur facts. Just throw a lot of facts and then you don’t know what anyone is saying. So you just go with the party alliance because you don’t believe anyone. Look at the facts. The federal guidance… excuse me a second, excuse me a second, excuse me a second, WRGB. Look at the federal guidance, read that, read the state guidance and you will see they are the same. Don’t discriminate, but the nursing home has to be in a position to accept the person.
Speaker 8: (42:37)
Governor, how would you respond to criticism that your state agency specifically states police and docs have regularly used 50-a to shield disciplinary records from the public? And secondly, what do you mean by reform to 50-a statute?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (42:54)
I will sign any 50-a reform bill the legislature sends me.
Speaker 8: (42:59)
How would you describe it? How would you respond to criticisms that your agencies have regularly-
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (43:04)
Change the law, the law is the law. You want to live by a different law, change the law. Let’s take one more. Dan.
[crosstalk 00:43:11] appeal of 50-a, the legislature is going to be back this coming week. If they just strike out the language all together, making disciplinary records available at any time, not just when police are under investigation, would you sign that?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (43:23)
I will sign… I believe 50-a has to be… First of all, I don’t believe 50- a ever stopped a local government from releasing disciplinary records. For example, New York City used to release the disciplinary records and 50-a was in place and they released the records. Well, how did you do that if 50-a was in place? Because 50-a doesn’t stop a locality from releasing the records. That’s why New York City did it. New York City then changed their position, didn’t want to release them and said, well, 50-a stops us. We sent them a Governor’s Council Opinion that said 50-a doesn’t stop you. It’s a wrong reading of the law. Governor’s Counsel’s Opinion, city still said I can’t release them because of 50-a, even though we gave them an opinion that said no. So it’s really the politics more than anything else. It’s not the law. It’s that police departments with reasonable points said, I don’t want the disciplinary records released because it violates the privacy of the police officer.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (44:43)
And it’s already a hard job to be a police officer. That’s why they were against 50-a. I think we’re at a different time, we’re at a different place. We need confidence for between the community and the police force. And I think the equities now are on the other side and I will sign any 50-a reform bill they send me. Repeal, reform, whatever they send me, I will sign because I think what’s preeminent now is to say to the community, we saw the George Floyd killing. We are also outraged and we are going to do something about it. And if 50-a is all we can do as a state, we’re going to do 50-a. I have to go to work. Thank you. [crosstalk 00:45:40].