Cuomo threatens to sue Trump over coronavirus vaccine distribution to ensure it goes to 'black and brown communities'

ANDREW Cuomo has threatened to sue Donald Trump over coronavirus vaccine distribution to ensure it goes to "black and brown communities."

The governor made the comments after Trump threatened to withhold the vaccine from the state of New York.

"I tell you today, if the Trump administration does not change this plan and does not provide an equitable vaccine process … we will bring legal action to protect New Yorkers," Cuomo said from the pulpit during a service at Riverside Church in Morningside Heights in Manhattan on Sunday.

"I'm not going to allow New Yorkers to be bullied or abused,’" the governor said.

President Donald Trump, during remarks from the Rose Garden providing an update on Operation Warp Speed on Friday, said that a vaccine will be available as soon as April “with the exception of places like New York State.”

“As soon as April, the vaccine will be available to the entire general population, with the exception of places like New York state, where, for political reasons, the governor decided …  he wants to take his time with the vaccine,” Trump said.

He added: “He doesn’t trust where the vaccine is coming from.”

Cuomo called into MSNBC Live with Katy Tur on Friday evening to address the president’s remarks and previous comments the governor had made.

“Katy, none of what he said is true. Surprise, surprise. We're all excited about the possibilities about a vaccine. It's not that people don't trust the vaccine companies, the pharmaceutical companies,” Cuomo said.

He added: “Pfizer is a great New York company, Regeneron is a great New York company, but an overwhelming percentage of Americans are worried about political interference in the vaccination process and the approval process by the President.”

Cuomo assured viewers that the approval process and distribution of the vaccine would be “concurrent” but handled in a way to “build confidence in people.”

The governor went on to lambast the president, who “lost in New York State in the election by a huge margin,” for his credibility.

“You have New York prosecutors who are investigating the President for tax fraud. So he has issues with New York and he likes to point to New York. But this is his issue. It's his credibility issue,” Cuomo said.

He added: “It's the fear that he politicized the health process of this nation which is a well-founded fear.”

More than 62 percent of Americans, including 35 percent of Republicans, believe political pressure from the Trump Administration would cause the approval process of a vaccine to be rushed by the US Food and Drug Administration, according to a poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Tur later asked Cuomo about the logistics of distributing a coronavirus vaccine and who would receive it first.

“Well that's my point. You know, the federal government on COVID has been very short on details and has frankly been incompetent in the administration. In New York we have many questions,” Cuomo said.

The governor said New York officials are not clear on how many doses the state would get and how quickly it would get them to create a real distribution program – particularly for the poor communities and people of color who are more susceptible to the disease.

“They talk about basically a private health institution distribution mechanism. They'll give it to hospitals, they'll give it to drug store chains, et cetera.,” Cuomo said.

He added: “That's fine for a segment of the population, but that doesn't get to the poor communities and the black and the brown communities that actually have the highest COVID mortality rate and infection rate.”

On Saturday, the president continued the feud with Cuomo.

“I LOVE NEW YORK! As everyone knows, the Trump Administration has produced a great and safe VACCINE far ahead of schedule. Another Administration would have taken five years. The problem is, @NYGovCuomo  said that he will delay using it, and other states WANT IT NOW,” Trump tweeted.

He continued: “We cannot waste time and can only give to those states that will use the Vaccine immediately. Therefore the New York delay. Many lives to be saved, but we are ready when they are. Stop playing politics!”

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