'We've sent them a lot of stuff.' Trump says federal help to NY partly why Gov. Cuomo has high poll numbers

David Jackson and William Cummings, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said Monday that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is getting high approval ratings in part because of the help the federal government has given his state to fight the coronavirus outbreak.

"We've sent them a lot of stuff," Trump said in a phone interview on Fox & Friends.

Amid the coronavirus crisis, the Republican president has sometimes sparred with Cuomo, a Democrat, but at other times has said they have a good working relationship.

"One of the reasons why he's successful is because we've helped make him successful," Trump said. "He's gotten good marks, but I've gotten great marks."

One flashpoint between Trump and Cuomo has been over ventilators that the governor has said are needed to prevent deaths in New York, the epicenter of the crisis in the U.S. 

President Donald Trump speaks during a coronavirus task force briefing in the Rose Garden of the White House, March 29, 2020, in Washington.

Cuomo has said New York was facing such a dire equipment shortage that care givers were converting some anesthesia machines into ventilators and adding second tubes to some ventilators in a process known as "splitting."

Cuomo, one of several governors who has been pressing the federal government for help in obtaining ventilators, has said he needs 30,000 ventilators "at a minimum" to meet the peak of the outbreak.

In an interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News last week, Trump questioned whether that many ventilators were needed for New York.

"I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators," the president said. "You know, you go into major hospitals, sometimes, they’ll have two ventilators. And now all of a sudden they're saying, 'Can we order 30,000 ventilators?'"

Overall, 87% of New Yorkers approved of Cuomo's response to COVID-19, according to a poll from Siena College that was released Monday, while 11% disapproved.

By comparison, 41% of New Yorkers approved of President Donald Trump's handling of the crisis and 56% disapproved. But Trump's job approval has jumped in most national polls since the outbreak began, hitting its highest level in the RealClearPoltics polling average since he took office.

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According to an ABC News/Washington Post released Friday, 49% of voters nationwide approved of the job Trump was doing and 47% disapproved. That was the first an ABC/Post poll found his approval rating higher that his disapproval rating since Trump took office. 

New York has been the state hardest hit by the virus, with about 60,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and nearly 1,000 deaths, most of them in New York City.

In Monday's Fox interview, Trump said the federal government has sent thousands of ventilators to New York and predicted the state will have enough to meet its needs.

"New York should be fine," Trump said. "Based on the numbers that we see, they should have more than enough."

– David Jackson and William Cummings

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Coronavirus: Trump says aid to NY lifting Gov. Cuomo's poll numbers