ELMIRA, NY – As Governor Cuomo continues to get strong approval ratings for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, we’re checking in with a former Governor who had to deal with a crisis of his own.
Republican George Pataki lead New York during the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks.
Zach Wheeler of our sister station WETM in Elmira spoke with Pataki about the ongoing crisis and how it’s being handled.
George Pataki, New York’s 53rd governor and former GOP candidate for President, speaking exclusively with 18 News via Skype.
The Republican, who defeated Governor Mario Cuomo in 1994, the father of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, sharing his thoughts on how Cuomo is handling the pandemic.
“I think the governor has done a very good job in the communications. The briefing have been enlightening and helpful to people who want to be informed and know what’s going on. One think I learned on September 11th, I write about in the book, is how important it is for government to cooperate on all levels of government. You can’t have the city and the state of New York not communicating, and not cooperating. You can’t have the state of New York and the federal government not cooperating,” says Pataki.
Reflecting on his experience of leading New York State during 9/11, Pataki shares how Washington needs to come together, on a united front, for the good of the American people.
“I would hope that at a time of crisis like this, people would put aside their political benefit. And simply function on what is right for the American people. But sadly in Washington, the ideological partisan divide is so great, even in the midst of this crisis as government is still trying to take the next critical steps to save lives, and they get us back on our feet. There is too much poltical posturing.”
The former governor says now is not the time to play the blame game.
“One of the things that troubles me Zach, when you look at the briefings, and the press questions. It’s all trying to blame somebody for something. One or the other. And the fact is where we are right now, the critical thing in a crisis, is to forget about who is going to ultimately get the blame for what should have been done or might have been done. It’s dealing with the crisis right now.”
Sharing some thoughts on how to do that;
“Making sure there in communication, making sure that our front line hospitals and health workers have all the equipment they have. Making sure we are getting as many tests out as possible in the Southern Tier and across the state so people can have some idea as to how wide spread this actually is. Lets focus on, dealing with the crisis getting this behind us and rebuilding our economy, and come November during the elections we can figure out who should have done what when.”
The former governor, who made many trips to our area during his term, shares a personal message.
“What’s gets us through a crisis like this are the ordinary people. The people like you have in Chemung County, the people we have in the Southern Tier and the state. Just follow the guidelines. Obey the rules, think not just of yourself but of what your actions are doing that could effect others. And give thanks to those who are going about their jobs whether it’s in a grocery store, in a truck or in a health care facility. They are the heroes that come from every walk of live that make the Southern Tier and make the Untied States such a great county.”
The Governor has a new book coming out today titled “Beyond the Great Divide: How a Nation Became a Neighborhood.”