MetroFocus

FULL EPISODE

METROFOCUS: January 11, 2021

Executive Editor at the Gotham Gazette Ben Max, Author and Rutgers University associate professor of political science Dr. Saladin Ambar and Founder and Chairman of The Conservative Color Coalition Joseph Pinion join us to discuss the Governor’s proposals and the outlook for New York in 2021.

AIRED: January 11, 2021 | 0:28:27
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

>>> THIS IS "METROFOCUS" WITH

RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND

JENNA FLANAGAN.

"METROFOCUS" IS MADE POSSIBLE BY

SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III,

SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA

PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT

ANTI-SEMITISM.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ,

BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, AND BY

JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND

JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP

MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH

WESTON, DR. ROBERT C.

AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION.

>>> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO

OUR WEEKLY "METROFOCUS" FRONT

PAGE FORECAST.

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

AFTER THE FIRST WEEK OF 2021, WE

ALREADY FIND OURSELVES IN A

CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS AND RACING

TO DISTRIBUTE THE CORONAVIRUS

VACCINE AT THE SAME TIME.

FOLLOWING LAST WEEK'S DEADLY

SIEGE ON THE CAPITOL, MEMBERS OF

CONGRESS HAVE FORMALLY INVADE

THEIR RESOLUTION TO IMPEACH

PRESIDENT TRUMP AND HOLD HIM

ACCOUNTABLE FOR INCITING THE

INSURRECTION.

IT WAS AGAINST THIS

EXTRAORDINARY BACKDROP THAT

GOVERNOR CUOMO ALSO ADDRESSED US

EARLIER TODAY, AND WITH THE U.K.

STRAIN OF THE VIRUS CONFIRMED TO

BE IN NEW YORK STATE AND FEARS

THAT MORE CASES WILL SOON

FOLLOW, THE VACCINE AND THE

ROLLOUT HAS TOPPED HIS AGENDA

ALONG WITH THE ECONOMIC CRISIS

FACING OUR COMMUNITIES.

SO TO HELP US MAKE SENSE OF THE

GOVERNOR'S BIG SPEECH AS WELL AS

WHAT'S TO COME POSSIBLY FROM

WASHINGTON THIS WEEK WE'D LIKE

TO WELCOME BACK THREE FRIENDS TO

THE PROGRAM FOR OUR WEEKLY LOOK

AHEAD AT THE HEADLINES AND THEIR

IMPACT ON THE TRI-STATE.

FIRST UP WE HAVE PROFESSOR

SALADIN AMBAR, AN ASSOCIATE

PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL SCIENCE

AT RUTGERS UNIVERSITY AND A

SENIOR SCHOLAR AT THE EAGLE TON

INSTITUTE OF POLITICS.

HE IS ALSO THE AUTHOR OF SEVERAL

BOOKS INCLUDING AMERICAN SISSIO

MARIO CUOMO AND THE DEFENSE OF

AMERICAN LIBERALISM.

WELCOME BACK TO THE PROGRAM.

>> GOOD TO BE HERE AS ALWAYS.

>> OF COURSE.

AND WE ARE JOINED BY JOSEPH

PINION.

HE IS A REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST,

CHAIR OF THE CONSERVATIVE COLOR

COALITION AND HOST OF NEWSMAX'S

SATURDAY AGENDA.

JOSEPH, WELCOME TO "METROFOCUS."

>> THANKS.

>> AND WE ARE JOINED AGAIN BY

OUR FRIEND OF THE SHOW BEN MAX,

EXECUTIVE EDITOR OF "GOTHAM

GAZETTE" AND CO-HOST OF THE MAX

AND MURPHY PODCAST ON NEW YORK

POLITICS.

WELCOME, BEN.

>> THANK YOU, JENNA.

GOOD TO BE BACK.

>> SO, BEN, I AM GOING TO PUT

YOU, I GUESS, FIRST ON THE HOT

SEAT SEEING HOW YOU ARE OUR

LOCAL STATE POLITICS EXPERT.

AND JUST ASK YOU TO GIVE US, I

GUESS, AN UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT

IT IS THAT THE GOVERNOR IS

ADDRESSING IN HIS STATE OF THE

STATE BECAUSE, AGAIN, SO MANY

ISSUES, AS I TOUCHED ON, NOT

JUST, OF COURSE, THE CORONAVIRUS

MUCH.

THE NEW VIRUS, THE VACCINE, AND,

OF COURSE, WHAT HAPPENED IN

WASHINGTON.

>> SURE.

WELL, YOU KNOW, THIS IS A

DIFFERENT SPEECH THAN USUAL FOR

THE GOVERNOR.

VERY MINIMAL LIVE AUDIENCE OF

COURSE IN THE COVID ERA.

STILL NOT SAFE TO BRING A LOT OF

PEOPLE INTO THE HALL LIKE HE

USUALLY DOES FOR AGENDA-SETTING

SPEECHES, STATE OF THE STATE

ADDRESSES, BUT IT BROADCASTS

AROUND THE STATE AND PLENTY OF

PEOPLE WERE ABLE TO TUNE IN.

ONE OF THE THINGS THE GOVERNOR

STRESSED WAS THAT THE STATE OF

NEW YORK IS SUFFERING, HE SAID,

AND THAT, OF COURSE, RELATES TO

COVID, BUT ALSO TO THE STATE'S

FUTURE FISCAL AND ECONOMIC

OUTLOOK.

ONE OF THE BIG THEMES THAT THE

GOVERNOR STRESSED AGAIN IS THAT

NEW YORK STATE IS FACING A

MASSIVE BUDGET CHALLENGE AND

THAT WAS BROUGHT ON BY COVID AT

THE ECONOMIC SHUTDOWN AND THE

LOSS IN TAX REVENUE, AND HE HIT

HOME THE THEME HE HAS BEEN

STRESSING MANY MONTHS, WHICH IS

HE EXPECTS THE FEDERAL

GOVERNMENT TO DO MORE TO FILL

NEW YORK STATE'S BUDGET GAP.

THE GOVERNOR LAID OUT A

SEARCH-POINT STATE OF STATE

AGENDA AND FILLED IN A LOT OF

DETAILS.

THOSE POINTS, INCLUDING

DEFEATING COVID AND VACCINATING

NEW YORKERS, FIXING THE STATE'S

FISCAL CRISIS, GETTING ITS

ECONOMY GOING AGAIN, WHICH

INCLUDED ANOTHER PLANK OF GREEN

ENERGY AND GREEN JOBS, AND THEN

ALSO DEALING WITH WHAT ARE THE

LONG-TERM CHANGES THAT COVID HAS

MADE US REALIZE, INCLUDING SOME

OF THE REAL SOCIAL, RACIAL,

ETHNIC INEQUITIES THAT THE STATE

HAS BEEN FACING.

THOSE ARE SOME OF THE BROAD

STROKES.

HE TALKED ABOUT WAYS TO INCREASE

REVENUE THROUGH MARIJUANA

LEGALIZATION AND LEGALIZING

SPORTS BETTING AND OTHER THINGS

ON THE AGENDA.

HIS FOCUS IN MANY WAYS WAS

DEFEATING COVID AND GETTING MORE

FEDERAL HELP FOR THE STATE.

>> WELL, AND AGAIN THERE IS SO

MUCH TO UNPACK JUST WITH THE

GOVERNOR'S STATE OF THE STATE.

WE WILL PUT A PIN IN THAT FOR A

MOMENT.

I WANT TO PIVOT TO THE OTHER

VERY HUGE STORY HAPPENING IN OUR

NATION, AND THAT IS WHAT IS

HAPPENING IN WASHINGTON RIGHT

NOW.

PROFESSOR AMBAR, I WANT YOUR

TAKE ON THE INTRODUCTION OF

ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT.

A SECOND POTENTIAL IMPEACHMENT

FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP AND IS THIS

THE RIGHT STEP?

THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF TALK

BACK AND FORTH ABOUT WHETHER OR

NOT CONGRESS SHOULD HOLD OFF, GO

FORWARD RIGHT AWAY, WILL THIS

CAUSE FURTHER DIVISIONS IN THE

COUNTRY.

WHAT IS YOUR READ ON WHAT HAS

HAPPENED AT LEAST ON THE FLOOR

OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES?

>> WELL, I THINK IT'S IMPERATIVE

FOR THE CONGRESS TO ACT IF FOR

NO OTHER REASON THAN TO MAKE

CERTAIN IT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE

AND, FRANKLY, TO THE WORLD THAT

THE CONGRESS WILL ALWAYS ACT IN

THE EVENT THAT A CALAMITOUS

EVENT PRECIPITATED BY A SITTING

PRESIDENT IS NEVER CONSIDERED OR

LAUNCHED AGAIN.

WE HAVE HAD AN ATTACK ON OUR

NATION'S CAPITOL AND TCAPITAL.

IT WAS NOT ACCIDENTAL.

IT DIDN'T COME FROM ACROSS THE

OCEAN, IT CAME FROM THE

PRESIDENT TRUMP OF THE UNITED

STATES ALONG WITH MEMBERS OF

CONGRESS.

WHILE THE TIMING ISN'T IDEAL

WITH SO FEW DAYS LEFT REMAINING

IN TRUMP'S TIME IN OFFICE, I DO

THINK, YOU KNOW, THERE IS NO WAY

A RESPONSIBLE MEMBER OF CONGRESS

CAN SIT IDLY BY AND NOT USE

WHATEVER POWER THEY HAVE,

HOWEVER LIMITED BY THE

TIMEFRAME, TO SEND A MESSAGE

THAT THIS IS BEHAVIOR THAT

CANNOT BE COUNTENANCED.

SO I JUST WOULDN'T SECOND-GUESS

ANY EFFORT WHETHER IT'S THE 25th

AMENDMENT OR THE POSSIBILITY OF

IMPEACHMENT OR REMOVAL FROM

OFFICE TO MAKE A STAND AGAINST

WHAT THIS PRESIDENT HAS COME TO

REPRESENT.

>> WELL, JOSEPH, I WANT TO POSE

THAT SAME QUESTION TO YOU.

AGAIN, KEEPING IF MIND THAT WE

HAVE HEARD FROM SEVERAL MEMBERS

OF THE GOP THAT WHILE THEY FIND

WHAT TOOK PLACE LAST WEDNESDAY

TO BE ABSOLUTELY REPUGNANT,

SEVERAL PEOPLE HAVE SAID THAT

GOING FORWARD WITH ANOTHER

IMPEACHMENT COULD FURTHER THE

DIVIDES THAT ALREADY EXIST IN

THE COUNTRY.

DO YOU THINK THAT'S A FAIR

CRITICISM OF WHAT SEEMS TO BE

HAPPENING, OR IS THERE SOMETHING

ELSE THAT NEEDS TO BE

CONSIDERED?

>> I MEAN, I THINK IT'S WITHOUT

QUESTION POURING GASOLINE ON A

FIVE-ALARM FIRE.

THERE IS NO ARGUMENT THAT YOU

CAN MAKE THAT IMPEACHING

PRESIDENT TRUMP AT THIS

PARTICULAR JUNCTION IS HEALTHY

FOR AMERICA.

IT IS NOT.

IF YOU ARE SIMPLY DONE WITH THE

CONCEPT OF AMERICA, IF YOU WANT

UNITY ON YOUR OWN TERMS AND BY

ALL MEANS, PROCEED APACE.

BUT IF YOU TRULY WANT TO TRY TO

UNITE AMERICA, YOU CAN'T JUST

SAY UNITE AMERICA BUT DOUBLE

DOWN ON DIVISION.

THAT IS NOT HOW IT WORKS.

UNITY REQUIRES A CONCERTED

EFFORT FROM PEOPLE WHO HAVE DEEP

DISAGREEMENTS TO TRY TO FIND

COMMON GROUND.

WE HAVE HAD AN ELECTION.

JOE BIDEN WILL BE THE PRESIDENT

OF THESE UNITED STATES.

IF WE ARE GOING TO DEDICATE THE

FIRST 30 OR 20 OR 40 DAYS OF HIS

PRESIDENCY TO TALKING ABOUT

WHETHER YOU HAVE THE ABILITY TO

IMPEACH A PRIVATE CITIZEN, THEN

BY ALL MEANS LET US DO THAT.

BUT IF WE ARE TRULY FOCUSED ON

MAKING SURE THAT 350 PLUS

MILLION SOULS CAN GET A VACCINE

THEY DESPERATELY NEED, IF WE ARE

GOING TO MAKE SURE THAT WE CAN

PUT AMERICANS BACK TO WORK, THEN

WE SHOULD BE FOCUSED ON THOSE

OBJECTIVES AND NOT TRYING TO

PENALIZE A MAN WHO, IF WE ARE

BEING TRULY HONEST, CANNOT BE

HURT BY THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS

ANYMORE.

WHAT HAPPENED IN THE CAPITOL WAS

DISGRACEFUL.

IT WAS A MULTIGENERATIONAL

FAILURE.

I THINK, AGAIN, WHEN YOU LOOK AT

WHAT TRANSPIRED, IT WAS IN MANY

WAYS THE INEVITABLE OUTCOME OF

64 DAYS OF BEATING A DRUM TO

TELL PEOPLE THAT THEY WERE

ROBBED OF THEIR CONSTITUTIONAL

RIGHT TO CAST ONE VOTE, ONE MAN

AND ONE WOMAN.

BUT WHEN YOU LOOK AT WHAT NEEDS

TO HAPPEN MOVING FORWARD, TO

MAKE THSURE WE PUT THAT DARK DA

THE DAYS THAT WERE DARKER THAT

PRECEDED IT BEHIND US, I THINK

THAT IT'S INCUMBENT OF US TO

REALIZE THAT WE HAVE TO STOP

KICKING OUR NEIGHBORS AND HAVE

TO START EMBRACING THE TRUTHS

THAT IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN

AMERICA, WE HAVE TO TRY TO

REFOCUS ON THE COMMON PURPOSE

THAT HAS MADE AMERICA WHAT IT

IS.

>> BEFORE I CIRCLE BACK TO THE

ISSUE OF NEW YORK STATE AND HOW

WE ARE GOING TO FARE, PROFESSOR

AMBAR, IS THERE ANYTHING THAT

YOU WOULD WANT TO SAY?

>> WELL.

>> I WOULD JUST RESPECTFULLY

DISAGREE WITH JOSEPH.

I THINK IF YOU ARE SUPPORTIVE OF

CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR AND I PUNISH

THE CRIMINAL, YOU MAY FIND THAT

DIVISIVE, BUT IT'S JUSTICE.

>> HOLD ON.

I DIDN'T -- JUST QUICKLY --

>> NO, NO --

>> REAL QUICKLY, BECAUSE I --

>> I LET YOU SPEAK.

>> GENTLEMEN, WE ARE ON ZOOM, SO

WE GOT TO BE ONE AT A TIME.

>> I LET YOU SPEAK.

I BELIEVE WE HAVE A MODERATOR.

SO I AM ALLOWED TO MOVE FORWARD.

SO LET ME JUST SAY, IF SOMEONE

ENGAGES IN VIOLENT CRIMINAL

BEHAVIOR AND, OR AT LEAST IT

APPEARS TO BE CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR,

AND THAT INDIVIDUAL AND

INDIVIDUALS ARE PUNISHED, I

DON'T SEE THAT AS DIVISIVE, I

SEE THAT AS JUSTICE.

IF YOU SUPPORT THAT BEHAVE

YOU'RE AND YOU DON'T LIKE THE

PENALTY, I CAN'T HELP YOU.

THE PROBLEM ISN'T THE

ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE.

IT'S THAT WE HAD FOUR YEARS WITH

PRESIDENT TRUMP WHO HAS BEEN

ABLE TO GET AWAY WITH PRETTY

MUCH ANYTHING AS HE SUGGESTED, I

CAN SHOOT SOMEONE ON FINALIST

AVENUE AND NOT LOSE A SUPPORTER.

IF THAT SUPPORTER IS UPSET THAT

THE PRESIDENT IS GOING TO BE

RECEIVING JUSTICE FROM CONGRESS,

WELL, THEN, YOU KNOW, THAT'S

REALLY UNFORTUNATE, BUT WE CAN'T

WORRY ABOUT FEELINGS.

WE HAVE TO ADMINISTER JUSTICE.

THIS HAS TO BE A COUNTRY WHERE

THE RULE OF LAW APPLIES.

>> LOOK, I JUST -- QUICKLY,

BECAUSE I THINK -- NUMBER ONE, I

DON'T THINK HOW IT WOULD BE

POSSIBLE TO TAKE AWAY THAT I WAS

TRYING TO CONDONE LAWLESSNESS.

WHAT HAPPENED WAS DISGRACEFUL.

I HAVE SAID THAT.

MANY PEOPLE HAVE SAID THAT.

IF YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT THE

RULE OF LAW, PART OF THE REASON

WHY THERE HAS BEEN DIFFICULTY

HOLDING PRESIDENT TRUMP

ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE THINGS THAT

PEOPLE ACROSS THE AISLE FIND

DISMAYING IS BECAUSE OF THE FACT

THAT HE IS PROTECTED BY THE

OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENCY.

THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS HE

WILL NOT BE ABLE TO IMPEACHED

AND REMOVED FROM OFFICE IN THE

TIME THAT REMAINS.

HE HAS LESS THAN A WEEK AND A

HALF REMAINING IN OFFICE.

SO IF YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT

ACCOUNTABILITY, WE ARE A NATION

OF LAWS.

WE HAVE A CRIMINAL COURT.

WE HAVE CIVIL COURTS.

ALL OF WHICH WILL BE ABLE TO

BRING CHARGES IF THEY ARE DEEMED

NECESSARY AGAINST A PRIVATE

CITIZEN, PRESIDENT TRUMP.

MY POINT AND SOLELY MY POINT WAS

THAT IF YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT

UNITING THE COUNTRY AND MOVING

FORWARD, WHETHER YOU ARE TALKING

ABOUT THE 25th AMENDMENT OR

TALKING ABOUT IMPEACHMENT, THEY

ARE ENGAGEMENTS IN THE THEATER

OF POLITICS AND NOT THE REALITY

OF ACTUAL PUNISHMENT AND

ACCOUNTABILITY BECAUSE WE BOTH

KNOW THAT THOSE LEVERS WILL NOT

RESULT IN ACTUAL REMOVAL OF

PRESIDENT TRUMP FROM OFFICE.

THAT IS ALL I WAS SAYING.

AND I THINK AGAIN IF WE ARE

GOING TO ENGAGE IN THIS

CONVERSATION, HAVE TRUTHFUL

CONVERSATION THAT HAS THE

INTELLECTUAL INTEGRITY REQUIRED

FOR US TO MOVE FORWARD, IT'S NOT

ABOUT KICKING OUR NEIGHBORS OR

EVEN ANTAGONIZING PEOPLE THAT

DISAGREE WITH US.

ALL I AM SAYING, AND WHAT I

THINK MANY AMERICANS ARE SAYING,

WE HAVE TO REALIZE THAT THE

PERSON WHO WILL BE PUNISHING

THROUGH THIS PROCESS IS NOT

DONALD TRUMP, BUT THE PEOPLE WHO

SUPPORT HIM AND THE DIVISIONS

WILL BE INFLAMED AS A RESULT.

>> WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO LEAVE

IT THERE.

I WANT TO MOVE ON.

BEN, FIRST OF ALL, IS THERE

ANYTHING THAT YOU WOULD WANT TO

WEIGH IN ON THE ACTIONS, I

GUESS, OF CONGRESS TODAY?

>> I WOULD SAY I THINK ONE THING

THAT'S INTERESTING ABOUT THE

EXCHANGE ON THE PANEL I THINK

SOME OF WHAT JOSEPH WAS GETTING

AT IS PROBABLY WHAT

PRESIDENT-ELECT BIDEN THINKS.

BUT HE MIGHT BE BEING PRESSURED

INTO PURSUING, YOU KNOW, MORE

JUSTICE FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP THAN

HE MIGHT PREFER BECAUSE HE IS

VERY FOCUSED ON HIS CONCEPT OF

UNITY AND HIS CONCEPT OF MOVING

THE COUNTRY FORWARD AND, OF

COURSE, STARTING HIS AGENDA OFF.

THAT'S SOMEHOW INTERESTING.

WHAT MAY BE MISSING FROM THE

DISCUSSION IS THERE IS A

QUESTION AROUND WHETHER BIDEN

AND THE CONGRESS SHOULD BE

TRYING TO UNIFY AMERICA AROUND

THE CONCEPT THAT THE PRESIDENT

IS NEVER ABOVE THE LAW AND NEVER

ABOVE ACCOUNTABILITY.

AND EVEN IF HE IS AN OUT GOING

PRESIDENT, THERE SHOULD BE

REPERCUSSIONS FOR REPEATEDLY

UNDERMINING DEMOCRACY AND

INCITING AN ATTACK ON THE

CAPITOL AND THAT'S A DISCUSSION

THAT'S ONGOING AND CERTAINLY

WORTH HAVING AS WE GO FORWARD.

>> MOVING BACK TO THE ISSUES

THAT NEW YORK STATE IS FACING,

YOU DID BRING UP A VERY FGOOD

POINT, THAT IS OF COURSE WHAT

WILL PRESIDENT-ELECT JOE BIDEN

MAY BE CONSIDERING.

THERE HAS BEEN TALK THAT TOO

MUCH DISCUSSION ABOUT ANOTHER

IMPEACHMENT MIGHT DISTRACT FROM

HIS FIRST 100 DAYS IN OFFICE.

NOW, WE KNOW, AS YOU SAID, THAT

GOVERNOR CUOMO HAS SAID THAT

THERE IS A SERIOUS BUDGET CRISIS

IN NEW YORK STATE.

FIRST OF ALL, I AM WONDERING IF

YOU COULD GIVE US SORT OF A

BETTER UNDERSTANDING BECAUSE

BUDGET CRISIS CAN BE NEBULOUS IF

YOU ARE NOT UNDERSTANDING WHAT

THE NUTS AND BOLTS ARE.

>> BASICALLY, THE STATE HAS LOST

A MASSIVE AMOUNT OF TAX REVENUE

BECAUSE OF LIMITED ECONOMIC

ACTIVITY.

SO IT'S ACTUALLY NOT AS BAD AS

ON

ONCE PROJECTED BECAUSE PLENTY OF

PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY HIGHER

EARNERS, HAVE CONTINUED TO MAKE

THE MONEY THAT THEY WERE

EXPECTED TO MAKE AND THEY ARE

PAYING INCOME TAXES AND, YOU

KNOW, THERE HAS BEEN SOME

CONTINUING OF ECONOMIC ACTIVITY.

AND SO THE HOLE IS NOT QUITE AS

BAD AS SOME THOUGHT.

ONE THING THAT IS WORTH NOTING.

>> THE GOVERNOR HASN'T COME TO

TERMS WITH, THIS RECENT AID

PACKAGE FROM THE FEDERAL

GOVERNMENT THAT WAS MOVED

FORWARD UNDER THE CURRENT

CONGRESS IS ACTUALLY HELPFUL TO

NEW YORK IN TERMS OF A LOT OF

THE MONEY IS KIND OF A

PASS-THROUGH THROUGH THE STATE

GOVERNMENT AND GOING TO A

VARIETY OF LOCAL SERVICES, AND

THE GOVERNOR HASN'T QUITE NOTED

IN HIS BUDGET ASSESSMENT THAT

THAT'S VERY HELPFUL TO THE

STATE'S BOTTOM LINE.

ALL THAT BEING SAID, THE STATE

IS STILL BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN

THE HOLE AND LOOKING TO THE

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FOR DIRECT

RELIEF INTO THE STATE BUDGET TO

BASICALLY MAKE UP FOR LOST TAX

REVENUE SO THAT IT DOESN'T HAVE

TO CUT EITHER STATE SERVICES OR

LOCAL AID THAT HAS BEEN

ADMINISTERED BY LOCALITIES.

>> AND OF COURSE, GOVERNOR CUOMO

IS CERTAINLY, HE HAS AN

EXCE

EXCELLENT POKER FACE.

I AM SURE HE HASN'T GIVEN UP TOO

MUCH.

IS THERE ANY INDICATION THAT

SOME, YOU KNOW, PERHAPS SOME

PAINFUL DRACONIAN CUTS MIGHT BE

COMING TO SERVICES, ESPECIALLY

FOR NEW YORK, WHICH IS SUCH A

HIGH SERVICE STATE?

>> THERE IS DEFINITELY THE

POSSIBILITY.

THE GOVERNOR HAS WITHHELD A LOT

OF PAYMENTS.

HE HAS WITHHELD SOME STATE

SERVICES AND STATE PROGRAMS.

HE HAS WITHHELD MONEY TO

LOCALITIES BECAUSE HE HAS BEEN

WORRIED ABOUT IN POTENTIAL CASH

KRURCH.

BUT THE STATE CASH POSITION IS

ACTUALLY OKAY.

AS I SAID, A LOT OF THE MONEY

THAT JUST CAME THROUGH IN THE

RECENT PACKAGE, WHICH OF COURSE

WAS MONTHS LATE AND CAUSED ALL

SORTS OF HAVOC THAT IT DIDN'T

NEED TO, ACTUALLY IS HELPING THE

STATE TO MOVE FORWARD WITH A LOT

OF THAT LOCAL AID.

THERE IS STILL THE QUESTION OF

BALANCING THE NEXT BUDGET, BUT

THAT DOESN'T ACTUALLY HAVE TO

HAPPEN UNTIL APRIL 1st WHEN THE

NEW FISCAL YEAR BEGINS.

SO THE GOVERNOR IS GOING TO BE

ABLE TO SEE WHAT THE BIDEN

ADMINISTRATION IS ABLE TO DO IN

THE EARLY GOING WITH A LIKELY

DEMOCRATIC HOUSE AND SENATE THAT

HE IS WORKING WITH.

>> WELL, GENTLEMEN, I WOULD LIKE

TO NOW PIVOT THE CONVERSATION TO

THE OTHER AMAZINGLY SO, SO MANY

MAJOR STORIES, THE OTHER MAJOR

STORY, THE REASON WE ARE ALL

SITTING HERE ON ZOOM.

THE CORONAVIRUS, WHICH IS STILL

SPREADING WILDLY THROUGHOUT THE

COUNTRY.

WE UNDERSTAND THAT THERE IS A

NEW VARIANT THAT AT LEAST WAS

INITIALLY BROUGHT TO THE WORLD'S

ATTENTION FROM THE U.K. THAT HAS

BEEN FOUND IN NEW YORK STATE,

AND THAT IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE

MUCH MORE CONTAGIOUS.

NOT NECESSARILY DEADLY, BUT IF

MORE PEOPLE GET SICK, THERE IS A

CONCERN MORE PEOPLE WILL BE

GOING TO THE HOSPITALS AND,

THEREFORE, MORE PEOPLE, THE

CHANCES OF EVEN MORE PEOPLE

PASSING AWAY.

I WANT TO ASK YOU, PROFESSOR

AMBAR, ABOUT THE WAY THAT THE

ROLLOUT OF THIS VACCINE HAS

HAPPENED.

WE WERE SUPPOSED TO HAVE 20

MILLION PEOPLE VACCINATED IN

DECEMBER.

WE HAD, I BELIEVE IT WAS

SOMEWHERE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF

4 MILLION.

I THINK WE ARE STILL UNDER 7

MILLION NOW IN JANUARY.

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS SOME OF THE

ISSUES THAT NEED TO BE ADDRESSED

WITH GETTING SHOTS IN ARMS?

>> WELL, AGAIN, IT COMES BACK TO

THE FACT THAT WE NEVER TRULY HAD

A COMPREHENSIVE NATIONAL PROGRAM

TO ADDRESS THE CORONAVIRUS.

BUT THAT'S WATER UNDER THE

BRIDGE NOW.

WE ARE DEALING WITH A LOT OF

UNCERTAINTY, AND WE ARE SEEING

OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS, BUT ALSO

OUR SCIENTISTS, CONFRONT

SOMETHING THAT WE HAVEN'T SEEN

THEM HAVE TO CONFRONT BEFORE.

NOT ONLY NOVEL CORONAVIRUS, BUT

THIS VARIANT STRAIN HAS

COMPELLED THEM TO THINK ABOUT

WHETHER OR NOT, AND SOME

SCIENTISTS BELIEVE, YOU KNOW,

PRESERVING THE DOSAGES FOR THOSE

WHO ABSOLUTELY ARE ON THE FRONT

LINES, THAT NEED IT FIRST,

WHETHER OR NOT THAT'S HOW IT

SHOULD BE DONE AS OPPOSED TO

WHETHER OR NOT IT SHOULD JUST

SIMPLY BE OPENED UP TO THE

GENERAL PUBLIC AS A KIND OF

BLANKET PROTECTION.

BUT THAT ALL COMES DOWN TO THE

QUESTION OF AVAILABILITY.

WE HAVE LEARNED THAT THE

PRESIDENT LATER, OR EARLIER,

LAST YEAR, LATER LAST YEAR WAS

RELUCTANT TO MAKE A LARGE

PURCHASE OF -- OR ALLOTMENT OF

THE VACCINATIONS AVAILABLE TO

THE AMERICAN PUBLIC.

WE LEARNED THAT.

THERE WAS SOME 100 MILLION OR SO

THAT WERE DELAYED.

AND SO WE'RE BEHIND THE CURVE ON

THIS.

THE LEVEL OF UNCERTAINTY IS A

REAL PROBLEM.

I WISH I COULD SAY DEFINITIVELY,

YOU KNOW, WHEN I WATCH THE NEWS

AND HEAR LIKE YOU ALL, NOT BEING

TRAINED IN THESE ISSUES AS A

BIOLOGIST WHETHER OR NOT IT WAS

BEST TO PRIORITIZE HEALTH CARE

WORKERS AND OTHERS, IT SEEMED TO

BE THE LOGICAL THING TO DO, TO

PRESERVE DOSAGES FOR THOSE WHO

ARE DEALING ON THE FRONT LINES

WITH THE PROBLEM OF PEOPLE BEING

INFECTED OR, AS IT SEEMS TO BE

THE CASE NOW, AS THE BIDEN

ADMINISTRATION SEEMS TO BE,

WOULD BE PRO -- THE BIDEN

ADMINISTRATION SEEMS TO BE

ADOPTING A STANCE WHERE JUST

RELEASE THEM.

GET THEM OUT THERE.

GET THE DOSAGES OUT THERE IN

PEOPLE'S ARMS AS SOON AS

POSSIBLE.

SO IT'S A WICKED PROBLEM, BUT

IT'S A HUMAN PROBLEM MADE MORE

VICIOUS BY POLITICAL

INCOMPETENCE AND MALPRACTICE,

FRANKLY, BY THE PRESIDENT

EARLIER IN THE VIRUS.

WHEN WE FIRST LEARNED ABOUT IT.

>> OKAY.

AND, JOSEPH, THAT WAS GOING TO

BE MY QUESTION TO YOU.

WE WOULD HOPE THAT HEALTH CARE

ISN'T SOMETHING THAT WOULD BE

POLITICIZED, AT LEAST AROUND

THIS VIRUS.

IT DEFINITELY SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN

SO.

AND SO FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE AT

LEAST WHAT -- DO YOU SEE THAT

NECESSARILY WAS A PROBLEM WITH

THE ROLLOUT?

WERE THERE THINGS THAT WEREN'T

ANTICIPATED OR UNDERSTOOD?

WHAT DO YOU THINK NEEDS TO

HAPPEN?

>> FIRST, I WANT TO OBVIOUSLY

APOLOGIZE TO PROFESSOR AMBAR.

I DIDN'T MEAN TO INTERRUPT HIM

EARLIER.

I THINK WE HAVE SOME FRUITFUL

CONVERSATIONS.

I THINK, TO THAT POINT, LOOK,

THE REALITY IS THAT MISTAKES

WERE MADE.

PLENTY OF MISTAKES WERE MADE AND

PEOPLE DIED AS A RESULT OF THOSE

MISTAKES.

THAT IS UNAVOIDABLE.

ONE OF THE THINGS THAT HAS

FRUSTRATED ME EVEN LISTENING TO

GOVERNOR CUOMO'S STATE OF THE

STATE IS THAT THERE HAS BEEN

VERY LITTLE ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF

THOSE MISTAKES OR THE FACT THAT

THOSE MISTAKES DID IN FACT LEAD

TO PEOPLE DYING.

SO I THINK, LOOK, THERE WERE

ISSUES WITH THE FEDERAL

RESPONSE.

HAVING SAID THAT, THE VACCINE IS

NOW HERE.

AND I THINK WHEN I LISTEN TO

PEOPLE LIKE GOVERNOR CUOMO TALK

ABOUT THE FACT THAT WE ARE GOING

TO FOCUS ON MAKING SURE THAT

PEOPLE DON'T CUT THE LINE, IT

SEEMS DEVOID OF THE REALITY THAT

THE ISSUE ISN'T THAT PEOPLE OF

PRIVILEGE ARE CUTTING THE LINE.

THE ISSUE IS THE LINE IS NOT

MOVING.

YOU HAVE, AGAIN, THIS WE ARE SO

FAR BEHIND WHERE WE ARE SUPPOSED

TO BE AS FAR AS MAKING SURE

PEOPLE HAVE ACCESS TO THE

VACCINE, WE HAVE SO MANY JOBS

AND PEOPLE WHOSE LIVES HAVE BEEN

DECIMATED.

SO I THINK WE NEED TO GO BACK TO

THE DRAWING BOARD AND START

TALKING ABOUT THE BEST

PRACTICES.

THE GOVERNOR SPECIFICALLY SPOKE

ABOUT THE OPPORTUNITY THAT COVID

PRESENTS.

I THINK WE NEED TO DO A LOT MORE

TALKING ABOUT THE REALITY OF

COVID THAT IS IN FRONT OF US

RIGHT NOW.

AND WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT THE FACT

THAT WE HAVE SO MANY INDIVIDUALS

WHO DON'T HAVE AN ABILITY TO

MAKE A LIVING RIGHT NOW BECAUSE

OF THESE LOCKDOWN POLICIES, I

THINK AGAIN WE KNOW FOR A FACT

THAT THERE IS HIGH RISK

ACTIVITY.

BUT I THINK, AS WE SPEAK TO MORE

DOCTORS, IT STARTS TO ALSO

APPEAR LIKE WE ARE BECOMING THE

ARCHITECTS OF SOME OF THESE

SUPERSPREADER EVENTS AS PEOPLE

ARE GETTING WHAT THE GOVERNOR

CALLED COVID FATIGUE.

HOW ARE WE NOT MAKING SURE WE

ARE FINDING WAYS TO GET MORE

BACK TO THE 25% OF INDOOR

DINING, WHICH WE KNOW HAS SOME

OF THE LOWER RATES OF

TRANSMISSION?

HOW ARE WE NOT FINDING WAYS TO

SUPPORT PEOPLE WITH MORE

RESOURCES IF WE ARE GOING TO

MANDATE THAT THEY ARE NOT GOING

TO BE ABLE TO GO TO WORK AND

MAKE A LIVING.

THAT MIDDLE CLASS, THAT WORKING

CLASS HERE IN NEW YORK, THE

$35 BILLION IN ECONOMIC

PRODUCTIVITY THAT COMES OUT OF

NIGHT LIFE WHICH HAD A

DEMONSTRABLY LARGER IMPACT ON

MINORITY COMMUNITIES, WE ARE

BEING DECIMATED BY THESE THINGS

AND WE HAVEN'T HAD AN HONEST

CONVERSATION ABOUT HOW TO MOVE

FORWARD.

>> BEN, I MEAN, WHAT DID AT

LEAST, FROM WHAT YOU HEARD OF

WHAT THE GOVERNOR HAS SAID, ONE

OF THE OTHER CRITICISMS I KEEP

HEARING IS THERE WEREN'T ENOUGH

PEOPLE TRAINED TO BE ABLE TO

EVEN GIVE THESE INOCULATIONS.

SO BASED ON WHAT YOU HEARD FROM

THE OTHER TWO GENTLEMEN ON THE

PANEL, HOW WOULD YOU WEIGH IN AT

LEAST FROM WHAT YOU HEARD FROM

THE GOVERNOR?

>> I THINK, FIRST, JUST TO SAY

THAT, YOU KNOW, CLEARLY ALL

ALONG THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION

HAS BEEN NEGLIGENT AND DEADLY ON

THIS VIRUS, WHETHER IT'S

CONTAINING THE VIRUS OR EVEN IN

THE ROLLOUT OF THE VACCINE.

THAT'S REALLY INDISPUTABLE WHEN

YOU LOOK AT THE FACTS.

IT'S HARD TO FIND ANYBODY WHO

WOULD ARGUE OTHERWISE WITH ANY

REAL SUBSTANCE.

IN NEW YORK THOUGH THERE

CONTINUES TO BE FAILURES AT THE

STATE AND CITY LEVEL THAT PEOPLE

NEED TO RECKON WITH AS WELL.

THERE HAS BEEN VERY LITTLE

RESPONSIBILITY TAKEN AT THE

THREE LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT BY

THE CHIEF EXECUTIVES WHO COULD

HAVE DONE A LOT BETTER AND STILL

COULD RIGHT NOW.

WHAT HAS HAPPENED IN NEW YORK, I

THINK, IS THAT THE GOVERNOR

TRIED TO CONTINUE THIS TREND

WHERE HE IS CONTROLLING

EVERYTHING AND THAT BACKFIRED.

AND THAT HAS BEEN A REAL

PROBLEM.

THE CONTROL WAS TOO TIGHT.

THEY TRIED TO TAKE CONTROL OF

VACCINE DISTRIBUTION AWAY FROM

COUNTIES THAT HAVE BEEN -- IN

NEW YORK CITY THAT HAVE BEEN

PREPARING FOR THIS FOR A LONG

TIME AND HAVE DONE IT BEFORE.

THAT'S A PROBLEM.

YOU COULDN'T HAVE A REAL FREE

FLOW WITH LIMITED DOSAGES, BUT

YOU COULD HAVE HAD A LITTLE BIT

LESS OF A CENTRALIZED APPROACH

TO GIVING IT OUT AND WHAT GROUPS

WERE ELIGIBLE, AND THAT WAS A

REAL PROBLEM.

IN NEW YORK CITY, WE HAVE SEEN A

REALLY BIG PROBLEM WITH THE DE

BLASIO ADMINISTRATION, AS USUAL,

BEING SLOW TO ROLL THINGS OUT

EVEN WITH LIMITED DOSES.

IT TOOK A LONG TIME FOR THEM TO

GET THE SITES UP.

IT TOOK A LONG TIME FOR THEM TO

FIND THE PEOPLE WHO WERE

ELIGIBLE INITIALLY AND ALSO SET

UP THE PHONE AND ONLINE SYSTEMS

TO GET PEOPLE ENROLLED.

AS FAR AS I AM CONCERNED, BOTH

THE STATE AND THE LOCALITIES

SHOULD HAVE HAD VERY LONG LISTS

OF PEOPLE READY TO GO IN

DECEMBER WHO COULD THEN BE

CALLED IN TO GET THE VACCINE AND

GET THIS THING MOVING QUICKLY,

AND IT'S ALMOST AS IF TO THE

CONTRARY OF THE WORDS THAT WERE

SPOKEN IN DECEMBER BY ELECTED

LEADERS, THEY ARE ADJUSTING TO

THIS ON THE FLY EVEN THOUGH THEY

HAD SIGNIFICANT TIME TO PREPARE.

>> WELL, WE ARE COMING UP ON THE

VERY END OF OUR TIME TOGETHER,

BUT, BEN, I WANT TO BRING UP A

VERY IMPORTANT LOCAL ISSUE.

YOU MENTIONED THE GOVERNOR'S

CONTROL, THE DE BLASIO

ADMINISTRATION, WE KNOW THEY

HAVE BEEN CONTENTIOUS.

THE DE BLASIO ADMINISTRATION IS

IN ITS LAST DAYS.

DO WE KNOW WHAT MIGHT BE COMING

PERHAPS THIS WEEK OR SOONER IN

THE MAYORAL ELECTION FOR NEW

YORK CITY?

>> THIS IS A TOPIC FOR MANY FULL

SHOWS.

I LOOK FORWARD TO THAT.

>> YES.

>> BUT THIS WEEK, THIS WEEK WE

ARE EXPECTING ANDREW YANG, THE

FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE,

TO JUMP INTO THE RACE FOR NEW

YORK CITY MAYOR.

THE JUNE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY IS

FAST APPROACHING.

YANG IS GOING TO CERTAINLY ENTER

THE RACE WITH A BIG SPLASH.

THE QUESTION IS WHAT HAPPENS AS

HE CONTINUES TO BE VETTED BY

BOTH THE PRESS AND THE PUBLIC.

IT WILL BE FASCINATING TO SEE

HOW HE JOINS THIS VERY CROWDED

ALREADY DIVERSE, INTERESTING,

COMPETITIVE FIELD.

>> OKAY.

AND PERHAPS WILL RELATIONSHIPS

WITH GOVERNOR CUOMO BE

CONSIDERED THIS TIME.

LISTEN, I WANT TO THANK YOU ALL

THREE OF MY GUESTS FOR JOINING

ME.

BEN MAX, OF COURSE, THE

EXECUTIVE EDITOR OF "GOTHAM

GAZETTE" AND CO-HOST OF THE MAX

AND MURPHY PODCAST, JOSEPH

PINION, A REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST,

CHAIR OF THE CONSERVATIVE COLOR

COALITION AND HOST OF NEWSMAX'S

SATURDAY AGENDA, AND PROFESSOR

SALADIN AMBAR, THE ASSOCIATE

PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL SCIENCE

AT RUTGERS UNIVERSITY AND SENIOR

SCHOLAR AT EAGLETON INSTITUTE OF

POLITICS.

I WISH WE HAD MORE TIME.

THESE WERE HUGE ISSUES, BUT

THANK YOU.

>> THANK YOU.

>> THANK YOU.

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