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Governors Cuomo and Whitmer respond to President Trump’s handling of COVID-19 at DNC

The governors from New York and Michigan use their DNC speeches to condemn Trump and make the case for Biden. 

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On the first day of the Democratic National Convention, host Eva Longoria and many of the speakers made note that the event could not endure the same celebrations of other election years because of the ongoing pandemic. 

People taking the stage, listening to cheers from thousands and being showered in balloons are images that Americans will not see. 

There was also not much room for celebration and excitement this year as the country has now lost over 170,000 individuals to COVID-19, which has left families hurting. Specialists have said that the U.S. could reach 300,000 deaths by the end of 2020.

Down a dark path

Millions more are also unemployed while president Donald Trump argues with Congress over a second stimulus check in four months. 

Several decisions from the White House have led Americans down this dark path. 

In February, Trump minimized the virus by comparing it to the seasonal flu and called it the Democrat’s “new hoax” while campaigning in South Carolina. 

At his coronavirus press briefings, he would promote hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for the novel coronavirus although the Food and Drug Administration had not approved it for such use, and the antimalarial drug has been linked to an increased risk of death. 

The president has also repeatedly claimed that the country is seeing a high number of cases because of the amount of testing the government is distributing. 

Data shows that cases and higher testing do not directly correlate with each other, but Trump has sought out any excuse that will make the 5.4 million cases in the U.S. seem reasonable. 

The president has been playing politics instead of attacking the spread of the virus by blaming Democratic governors for the rising death tolls.  

Two governors respond

No two have faced more backlash from the Trump Administration during the era of the pandemic than Governors Andrew Cuomo of New York and Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer. 

Both gave keynote speeches at the convention on Monday and aside from making the case for Democratic nominee Joe Biden, they also attacked the president for his handling of the public health crisis. 

Cuomo was the first of the two to speak, he has served as Governor of New York since 2011 and became the chair of the National Governors Association earlier this month. 

The governor has met and spoken with the president several times to request the implementation of the Defense Production Act, continual funding for aid programs and the approval of billions of dollars in infrastructure projects to help restart the economy. 

Gov. Cuomo has been feuding with Trump for leaving states without federal support throughout the pandemic, claiming it is unfair to allow governors to decide when to reopen while the president is not providing the appropriate resources for them to do so. 

The 62-year old started his address by remembering when his state was the epicenter of the virus and how it now has one of the lowest infection rates in the country

He went on to comment on the president’s late reaction to the virus.

“The virus had been attacking us for months before they even knew it was here. We saw the failure of a government that tried to deny the virus, then tried to ignore it and then tried to politicize it,” he said. 

The governor rounded off his speech with a hopeful message, saying that the country will overcome the difficulties it currently faces and that a competent government like the one he managed in New York was successful in dealing with the adversities brought on by the virus. 

“Yes, we will set up testing and tracing and do whatever we need to do to mobilize to win this battle because we are America, we win wars, and we are the greatest country on the globe. And for all the pain and all the tears our way worked,” Cuomo said. 

Mainstream media pundits have praised the New York governor for his response to COVID-19. This, coupled with his public arguments with the president has made him rise to be a national figure for Democratic party. 

His appearance at the convention only gives him another platform for a potential run for president in 2024, although his intentions are still unknown. 

He has said that he plans on running for a fourth term as governor of New York in 2022 — a goal that his father Mario Cuomo could not reach as he only served three terms. 

The last person to be elected four times to be New York’s governor was Nelson Rockefeller, who served from 1959 to 1973 before becoming Gerald Ford’s vice president. 

Governor Whitmer has only held her seat for less than two years, but she was still among the four finalists to be Biden’s running mate. 

She delivered the Democratic response to Trump’s State of Union earlier this year. 

Whitmer has also sparred with the president over supply shortages and his refusal to listen to experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert. 

The governor started her speech by recognizing the Michigan auto workers that produced medical equipment to help fight the virus and how her state was successful at controlling its spread. 

“We took this pandemic seriously in Michigan. We listened to medical experts. We planned. And with a lot of work from the auto workers and too little help from the White House we executed our plan. We saved thousands of lives. Just imagine if we had a national strategy,” she said. 

After mentioning the bravery of essential workers during these times, Governor Whitmer closed her four minute speech by asking the nation to strive to heal as a tribute to those who lost their lives during the pandemic. 

“In the memory of all those we’ve lost, let us act. Let us heal as one nation. Let us find strength to do the work,” the governor said.

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