Viewpoint: Trump to New York: ‘Drop dead. No really, drop dead’

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Karen Rubin, Columnist

It’s not New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo or New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio or any Democratic governor or mayor who is “defunding” police – it is Trump, who has directed his consigliere William Barr to act against New York City, Portland and Seattle based on a fabricated charge they are “anarchist jurisdictions”.

“My administration will not allow federal tax dollars to fund cities that allow themselves to deteriorate into lawless zones,” Trump declared.

“He thinks he’s a king but he’s not. He’s a President,” Governor Cuomo riposted. “But there’s the Constitution and there are laws, nothing that he knows anything about. But the federal budget is appropriated by law with conditions of funding by law… and he can’t override the law.”

Trump has already diverted money, including $4 million from an NYPD fund that supports those suffering from 9/11-related health issues (more people have died since 9/11 than were killed in the four terror attacks, a number that is exceeded every four days in COVID-19 deaths).

“In the same week President Trump announced an illegal effort to cut Federal funding to New York City, it was revealed the White House is trying to undermine efforts to fight COVID-19 in our subways, buses, and schools,” Cuomo stated. “By quietly changing FEMA policy to no longer fund personal protective equipment or disinfection efforts for the MTA and schools, the President is telling essential workers that he does not value their safety or their sacrifices over the last six months. Make no mistake, this is just another attempt by President Trump to hurt New York. We won’t be bullied – and despite the federal government’s negligence, the state will continue to work with the MTA and school districts to ensure transit workers, riders, teachers, students, and all New Yorkers remain safe.”

Trump has already demonstrated his penchant for directing or withholding disaster response and aid based on whether governors and local officials are “friendly” and adequately fawning.

Trump wants to discount the 100,000 deaths in blue states to make the outrageous claim that the remaining 100,000 put the US better off than the rest of the world (not true, US would still be 2nd place after Brazil, and have 11 percent instead of 22 percent of global COVID deaths, compared to only 4 percent of the population, with higher death rates than comparable countries like Germany).

Now Trump is threatening to put New York State at the bottom of the list to get the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available.

It’s not just New York. Trump has threatened to veto any Congressional COVID-19 relief that includes the $500 billion to keep state and localities from having to fire millions of workers, including police, fire, teachers, EMS and health workers. New York State is asking Congress for $59 billion to address “catastrophic budget shortfalls” and repeal of the SALT deduction cap.

On the other hand, Trump is using the U.S. Treasury – our money – as his own slush fund. The $1,200 checks that the Democrats pushed for, came with his name as if he was giving it. Now, his grand “healthcare” innovation is to promise seniors a $200 drug “Trump card”- like giving him $200 of taxpayer money to buy each vote.

Trump is sending $14 billion to farmers to buy those votes. Another amazing coincidence: after ignoring Puerto Rico (even proposing to trade it for Greenland), addressing Hurricane Maria’s devastation by tossing out paper towels while withholding $91 billion in allocated aid, now he is doling out $13 billion, just in time for the election, because he has realized the number of displaced Puerto Ricans who can now vote in Florida.

The $500 billion in CARES Act funding for businesses have gone to an amazing proportion to his buddies (among them, a Rudy Giuliani company that did not even have employees). Jared Kushner, in charge of organizing acquisition and distribution of PPE, didn’t feel the urgency since COVID was attacking mostly blue states and cities.

Instead of tax relief that would actually help spur the economy – like lifting the SALT cap which Cuomo said “stole” $14 billion from New York – Trump wants to cut payroll taxes, essentially starving to death Social Security and Medicare, or making it impossible for workers to make up the crippling IOU. It is estimated that with Trump’s policies, Social Security will be insolvent by 2023.

The guy who boasts about ending regulations to spur economic development has put artificial barricades in front of important infrastructure projects in New York, including the AirTrain at LaGuardia Airport, the New York-New Jersey Gateway tunnel, the MTA’s $51 billion capital plan, East Side access to Penn Station, and funding for floodgates to mitigate against climate-caused storm surges, for no other reason than he can stick it to Democrats.

Curtailing these projects will cost thousands of jobs instead of giving New York an economic lifeline.

After Trump attacked Cuomo directly for becoming the global hotspot for the coronavirus – now New York, with 455,626 cases is vastly surpassed by California (809,890), Texas (758,756) and Florida (700,564) – to shift blame onto the state (as he did the California wildfires), Cuomo retorted that Trump “caused the COVID outbreak in New York” by not sharing intelligence that the virus was coming into the New York region through Europe (3 million came into New York area from Europe before travel was banned), and is now “trying to actively kill New York City.”

“From the point of view of New York City, this has been the worst president in history,” Cuomo declared. “President Ford said, drop dead. Trump has actively been trying to kill New York City ever since he’s been elected and it’s a personal animus as it normally is with the President. I think it’s because he is from New York City and New York City rejected him always. He was dismissed as a clown in New York City. Those who know him best like him least. That’s true about New York City. It’s true about his own family and I think that’s more and more clear to Americans.

“He’s going to defund New York City. Everything that he could possibly do in his power to hurt New York City he has done.”

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