‘Trump vaccine’-trashing Cuomo snubbed Azar, skipped 17 White House meetings

WASHINGTON — He’s been trashing the Trump administration’s COVID-19 vaccine plan but New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo stopped taking part back in June — skipping more than a dozen White House meetings and snubbing a one-on-one with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, The Post has learned.
Cuomo skipped out on 17 consecutive governor calls with the White House Coronavirus Task Force designed to brief state leaders on the vaccine development and rollout process, while calling them “circuses” and “a joke” in a recent interview, a White House source confirmed.

By Ebony Bowden & Bernadette Hogan | November 11, 2020 | 6:24pm | Updated

Cuomo on Monday blasted President Trump’s vaccine plan as “flawed” amid news of a Pfizer vaccine breakthrough, going so far as to threaten to block its distribution in New York, saying, “We can’t let this vaccination plan go forward the way that Trump and his administration is designing it.”

But while Cuomo griped publicly about the Trump administration, his team spurned an offer to meet with Azar late last month, who wanted to hear Cuomo’s concerns, two sources said.

Cuomo has claimed a vaccine would need to undergo a second round of checks in New York because efforts to fast-track it had been “politicized” and suggested it was “bad news” that the treatment wasn’t being distributed under an administration led Joe Biden, who Cuomo has described as a friend and who is currently the president-elect.

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White House spokesman Michael Bars, meanwhile, unloaded on Cuomo Wednesday, saying his attacks were putting lives at risk.

“It’s disgraceful, but not without surprise, that Gov. Cuomo would continue to engage in politically-motivated attacks that obstruct the federal planning process than meaningful collaboration to save lives,” Bars said.

“The administration is harnessing the full power of the federal government, private sector, military, and scientific community in an unprecedented private-public partnership to deliver a safe and effective vaccine as soon as possible. Gov. Cuomo is trying to stop it.”

Of course, Cuomo and Trump have been at each other’s throats all during the pandemic — trading blows during their individual daily press conferences early on and attacking each other’s leadership during the now nine-month crisis.

In an interview with SiriusXM host Howard Stern this week, Cuomo said he would have “decked” Trump if he wasn’t governor. In September, Cuomo said the commander-in-chief would need “an army” to protect him if he wanted to walk on the streets of the Big Apple.

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