WASHINGTON — President Trump and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, two New Yorkers who have alternately praised and quarreled with each other during the coronavirus pandemic that has ravaged their mutual home state, met in person on Tuesday to try to resolve differences over testing and financial relief.
After weeks of talking by telephone and through the news media, Mr. Cuomo traveled to Washington to sit down with the president at the White House and press for more federal assistance to expand testing for the virus and to help financially devastated state and local governments.
Mr. Cuomo afterward called it “a very good conversation,” playing down the sporadic disputes between the two men.
“The president is communicative about his feelings, and I’m communicative about what I think,” Mr. Cuomo said on MSNBC. “But look, I think for the president and for myself, this is not about — this is not about anyone’s emotions, about anyone else. I mean, who cares, right? What I feel, what he feels. We have a tremendous job that we have to get done and put everything else aside and do the job. And that was the tone of the conversation, was very functional and effective.”
Speaking at an evening news conference in the State Capitol in Albany, Mr. Cuomo said the meeting largely focused on ramping up diagnostic testing in New York. “Testing is a very complicated issue with a lot of levels,” he said, adding that he discussed division of labor between federal government and state. “That’s what we did this afternoon.”
In particular, Mr. Cuomo said that the state needed help in unknotting a supply chain from large manufacturers to some 300 smaller laboratories in New York. The state, he said, “can’t do international supply chains,” and he added that he wanted to “let the federal government take responsibility for that federal supply chain.”
Mr. Cuomo said that he secured a commitment from the president to try to increase the number of tests in New York for both the coronavirus and the antibodies to 40,000 a day. The federal government will work on increasing the supply of reagents and testing kits from national manufacturers necessary to process the tests, and the state will handle coordination with the laboratories in New York.
Mr. Trump did not invite cameras to record the encounter, as he typically does with prominent visitors. But at his daily briefing later in the afternoon, the president said he and the governor were aligned on the issue of testing without elaborating.
“We had a great talk on testing,” Mr. Trump said. “We have an agreement, we have an understanding on testing.” He also signaled a willingness to seek aid for states. “I agree with him on that,” he said, “and I think most Republicans agree too, and Democrats.”
The president added that he had worked hard to help New York by helping provide medical equipment and new hospital beds and sending the Navy hospital ship Comfort, which is no longer needed and so will return to its home port in Virginia. “The federal government has spared no expense or resource to get New Yorkers the care they need and the care they deserve,” Mr. Trump said.
The president and governor of different political parties have variously exchanged compliments and argued long distance over the past six weeks as New York became the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States with more than 250,000 reported cases and about 15,000 deaths.
They have been at odds over the provision of equipment like ventilators and over the president’s claim to “absolute” power to overrule governors to reopen businesses, schools and everyday life. “We don’t have a king in this country,” Mr. Cuomo said at one point. But at others, he has said Mr. Trump has “delivered for New York.”
After Tuesday’s meeting, Mr. Cuomo said he did not bother to raise some of their past disputes during their time together in the White House. “You can’t rebut everything,” he said, “so sometimes you just let it go in life.”
Peter Baker reported from Washington, and Jesse McKinley from Albany.