Cuomo, Trump ready to meet after trading virus barbs, praise

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Vice President Mike Pence, right, and President Donald Trump watch a video of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaking during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, Sunday, April 19, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

WASHINGTON – Their back-and-forth during the coronavirus pandemic has included insults, sharply contrasting views on the role of the federal government and some moments of mutual admiration.

Now President Donald Trump and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will meet face-to-face Tuesday for the first time since the global crisis began.

Ahead of their Oval Office meeting, Cuomo said he wanted to discuss the need for more federal help in increasing testing capacity — a persistent sticking point between the governors and Washington.

Cuomo said Trump is right in saying that “states should take the lead” on testing, but the federal government needs to manage the flow of supplies from abroad while governors are "trying to put together their testing protocol in their state.”

“I think in many ways we’re talking past each other,” Cuomo said.

Despite well-documented shortages of testing supplies, Trump and White House aides have insisted that states have enough test capacity to move ahead with the first phase of efforts to reopen their economies.

The hot-and-cold relationship between Trump and Cuomo has been on full display in their respective briefings and Twitter posts during the crisis. In recent days, Trump has admonished Cuomo to “do your job." Cuomo, in turn, has questioned Trump's grasp of the Constitution and suggested the president is trying to act like a “king.”

For all of that, though, Trump said Monday that “we, believe it or not, have — we get along. Okay?”