Trump says he would withhold COVID-19 vaccine from New York because of Cuomo's position

If a COVID-19 vaccine is approved and ready for distribution under President Donald Trump's administration, he said New York will not receive it because of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's remarks about how his administration has managed the pandemic.

The president made the remarks during a press conference held in the Rose Garden Nov. 13. 

"As soon as April, the vaccine will be available to the entire general population with the exception of places like New York, where, for political reasons, the governor decided to say, and you know, I don't think it's good politically, I think it's very bad from a health standpoint, but he wants to take his time with the vaccine. He doesn't trust where the vaccine's coming from," President Trump said.

"This is a very successful, amazing vaccine at 90 percent and more, but the governor, Governor Cuomo, will have to let us know when he’s ready for it, otherwise we, can’t be delivering it to a state that won’t be giving it to its people immediately," he said. "I know the people of New York very well. I know they want it. So the governor will let us know when he's ready."  

Shortly after the president's Rose Garden appearance, New York Attorney General Letitia James released the following statement: 

"This is nothing more than vindictive behavior by a lame-duck president trying to extract vengeance on those who oppose his politics. Once there is a fully-developed COVID-19 vaccine, we are confident that a Biden-Harris Administration will provide New York with the proper number of doses so that our state's residents can achieve immunity. If dissemination of the vaccine takes place in the twilight of a Trump Administration and the president wants to play games with people's lives, we will sue and we will win."

Mr. Cuomo had said in an Oct. 20 press conference that he believed the American people are skeptical about the vaccine, according to "Why? Because I think they're skeptical about the professionalism of this federal government's health response," he said. 

New York is forming an independent body to review data from every COVID-19 vaccine approved by the FDA. California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington are doing the same. 

Mr. Cuomo reacted to the president's remarks on MSNBC. "A number of states, New York included, to try to build credibility so the people will actually accept the vaccine, put together their own scientific review panels," he said, according to "Ours is headed by a Nobel Prize laureate who will review the FDA process so we can say to people, it is safe, you should take the vaccine."

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