“Look, in New York City, this is playing out in so many families. And I got to tell you, you know, Donald Trump has blood on his hands, and he has my mom’s blood on his hands,” Scott Stringer, the city’s comptroller, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “This is something that is just outrageous. And so it’s very tough to mourn under these circumstances.”
Later Monday evening, Stringer told CNN that Trump “failed to take action quickly and early” and said the President “wasted … precious time with denials and lies (about the crisis) while more cases spread and more Americans got sick.”
“Had the President taken this threat seriously and put people’s health before his political interests, he would have acted immediately,” Stringer said. “Instead, he wasted months of time – and spent it talking about how coronavirus was a ‘Democratic hoax’ and how the problem would disappear ‘like a miracle.’ It was wrong, it was reckless, it cost lives.”
CNN has reached out to the White House for comment on this story.
Stringer announced last Friday that his mother, Arlene Stringer-Cuevas, died that morning at age 86 due to complications from the virus, which has already claimed the lives of more than 10,300 Americans, including more than 4,700 New Yorkers, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Stringer, who said his mother was the first woman to represent the neighborhood of Washington Heights on the New York City Council, remembered her on Monday as being “tough” and having a love for the city.
“She believed in government. And she raised us to believe in government,” he said. “For this tragedy to happen is just so overwhelmingly sad for my family, but it’s a story, Anderson, that I know is playing out across the country – it’s playing out in New York City and it’s so hurtful.”
New York is currently the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the US. The city has witnessed extraordinary scenes such as field hospitals being set up in iconic Central Park, a major convention center being turned into an emergency hospital and medical workers pleading for more personal protective equipment.
New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other state and local officials have repeatedly appealed to Trump and the federal government for help addressing the crisis. In response, Trump has sent a Navy hospital ship to New York and helped direct some federal supplies and funding to the Empire State.
Stringer criticized how that hospital ship – the USNS Comfort – has been used.
“He sent us that hospital that’s right here in the Manhattan harbor and no one can get on that hospital,” Stringer said during his interview, referring to the Comfort. CNN reported last week that the ship, which has the capacity to care for more than 1,000 patients, had so far only received a few dozen.
The Comfort was expected to only treat non-coronavirus patients, but a top military doctor told reporters on Monday that Covid-19 patients had been treated on the ship.
In addition to dispatching the ship, last week, Trump approved Cuomo’s request to turn the Javits Center into a coronavirus treatment center. And earlier in March, the President outlined the federal government’s plan to fund a US National Guard unit in the state to help with its response to the pandemic, a move that was originally requested by the governor.
Stringer told CNN on Monday that to better help New York during the crisis, the federal government should provide “real federal investment in our city, extensive medical supplies and personnel, and support for small businesses and New Yorkers who are struggling during this crisis.”
This story and its headline have been updated after additional comments from Stringer.