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Cuomo has 'productive' meeting with Trump on need to ramp up testing for coronavirus

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office
Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a briefing at Roswell Park Cancer Center in Buffalo earlier in the day Tuesday, with Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo met with President Donald Trump for about an hour Tuesday afternoon at the White House, where the governor asked for federal help to boost testing for the coronavirus.

Cuomo, who asked for the meeting, said it was  “functional” and “productive” and focused on the need for the federal government to get involved in ramping up testing for those who might be sick with the  virus, and to test for the presence of  antibodies in people who have had the virus and are recovered.

Cuomo said in order for New York to reopen from the weeks-long shutdown, there has to be more extensive testing to avoid a steep resurgence of the virus.

The governor said without the federal government intervening, states will be in a “quagmire” as they try to navigate unfamiliar national and international supply chains for the materials used to create the tests.

After the meeting, speaking on MSNBC, Cuomo said Trump agreed to help New York double its testing capacity from 20,000 tests a day to 40,000 tests.

“It's a very aggressive goal, and we said that we would work together to meet that goal, so it was a very good conversation,” Cuomo told MSNBC host Nicole Wallace.

Cuomo said Trump expressed concern over the nearly complete shutdown of New York City, where the president lived most of his life, but did not urge the governor to speed up the timetable to reopen businesses and schools.

The governor and president have alternately praised and berated each other in recent weeks. Cuomo said they had an honest and open conversation, but he said ultimately, it’s not about anyone’s emotions, but about working on what he called the “tremendous job” that has to get done to cope with the pandemic.