ALBANY, N.Y. — President Donald Trump should spend more time focusing on hurricane recovery and less time criticizing football players, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.
In remarks to business leaders meeting in the Adirondacks, the Democratic governor took the Republican president to task for what Cuomo said is a long string of divisive comments that distract attention from more important topics. Cuomo cited the devastation in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands as an example.
“Should you kneel, stand with the football players? Meanwhile people’s lives are in danger,” Cuomo said, in reference to the controversy prompted by NFL players who declined to stand during the national anthem.
Trump spent three days criticizing players who kneel during the national anthem, which began with quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the 2016 season as a protest over how police treat blacks. “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners when somebody disrespects our flag to say get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired, he’s fired,” Trump said at a rally Friday.
Following the storms, Cuomo visited Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in a show of solidarity and to better understand how New York could help. The state is sending members of the National Guard, state troopers, helicopters and supplies, such as drinking water and electric generators. Cuomo said he saw people on Puerto Rico facing “life and death” conditions, with no access to water, refrigeration or electricity.
“What I’m saying is, all the hubbub about NFL football players, focus on Puerto Rico. Focus on the Virgin Islands. Focus on rebuilding the Keys and Florida and Texas,” Cuomo told reporters after his remarks Monday. “… Tweet: ‘lets all go make a donation to the people of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands because they’re all American citizens.’ That would be a great Tweet.”
Cuomo cited looming cuts to Medicaid funding, the latest Republican effort to repeal Obamacare and escalating tensions with North Korea as other topics more deserving of the president’s attention than the controversy over the NFL.
Cuomo has been mentioned as a possible White House contender in 2020. He’s said he’s focused on his current job and on seeking a third term as governor next year.