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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Video: Trump’s Misleading Attacks on Cuomo

In this video, we look at two misleading attacks President Donald Trump has lodged against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose state has been dealing with an explosion of COVID-19 infections.

Hitting back at New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s pleas for the federal government to provide more ventilators, Trump misleadingly claimed Cuomo rejected a 2015 recommendation to purchase 16,000 ventilators and instead “established death panels” and “lotteries.”

Contrary to the president’s claim, a state task force in 2015 did not make a recommendation about purchasing more ventilators. That was outside the scope of the group, Valerie Gutmann Koch, the former senior attorney and special consultant to the New York State Task Force on Life and the Law, told us via email. The report — “Ventilator Allocation Guidelines” — provided guidelines for New York hospitals on how they should decide which patients get ventilators in the event of a severe influenza pandemic.

Koch also said it is inaccurate to call the triage committees proposed by the New York task force “death panels.”

The 2015 ventilator allocation protocol is intended to save the most lives in an influenza pandemic where there are a limited number of available ventilators,” Koch told us.

In a “Fox & Friends” phone interview on March 30, Trump also misleadingly noted that 4,000 ventilators delivered to New York from the federal stockpile are being kept in a “warehouse which happens to be located – which is interesting — in Edison, New Jersey,” suggesting New York didn’t need them. Cuomo said the ventilators are being stored in anticipation of peak demand in the coming weeks.

For more information about these and other misleading claims Trump has made about Cuomo’s response to the pandemic, see our stories, “Trump’s Misleading Ventilator Counter-Punch at Cuomo” and  “Trump vs. Cuomo, Round 2.”