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Cuomo: It’s ‘lunacy’ for Trump to focus on NFL while lives are at stake

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who announced new hurricane

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who announced new hurricane relief efforts for Puerto Rico on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, says President Donald Trump needs to zero in on storm relief, North Korea and other "real issues." Credit: AP / Michael Noble Jr.

BOLTON LANDING — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo jabbed at President Donald Trump on Monday, saying it was “lunacy” and “nonsensical” to focus on the NFL anthem protests instead of North Korea, hurricane-devastated Puerto Rico and other “real issues.”

Cuomo said the Trump administration is doing nothing to help Puerto Rico and questioned whether the president’s dozen or more tweets over the weekend about the NFL were meant to distract from the administration’s struggles.

“This is lunacy, what we are doing. All this time with this silly debate — should you kneel? Should you stand? Meanwhile, people’s lives are at stake,” Cuomo told the annual conference of the New York State Business Council.

“We have storms like we’ve never seen … and how about North Korea and we are talking about all this nonsense,” Cuomo said. “If I didn’t know better I’d think it was a tactic to distract from real problems.”

Asked afterward by reporters whether the Trump administration was insufficiently focused on the aftermath of Hurricane Maria and other storms, Cuomo, a Democrat, said, “Well, they’re not doing anything. It’s not a quantitative discussion. They’re just not focused on it.”

Cuomo suggested that, with “all the hubbub about NFL players … focus on priorities. Focus on Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and the [Florida] Keys and Texas. Tweet: Let’s all go volunteer and help Florida. Let’s all make a donation to the people of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands because they are American citizens. That would be a great tweet from the president of the United States.”

Cuomo also criticized a new U.S. Senate health care proposal that Republicans are pushing.

Cuomo said the plan, sponsored by Sens. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.), would reduce New York’s federal Medicaid aid by some $40 billion. Cuomo called Republicans’ pitch that the plan would give governors more flexibility because the money would come in block grants to states, “pure garbage” to mask steep cuts.

Then, taking another shot at Trump’s Republican administration, Cuomo quipped: “Maybe I should call Colin Kaepernick and ask him to talk about the Medicaid cuts and then it would get attention in Washington.” Cuomo was referring to the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who started the national anthem protest last year.

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