President Trump said the nation couldn’t be kept in an unending lockdown, pointing to the economic devastation in New York — which has become “a ghost town.”
“If you go and look at what has happened to New York, it’s a ghost town. Take a look at what’s happening to New York. It’s dying,” Trump said at the second and final presidential debate in Nashville, Tenn. — accusing Democratic nominee Joe Biden of devastating businesses through strict lockdowns.
“When you talk about plexiglass, these are restaurants that are dying. These are businesses with no money. Putting up plexiglass is unbelievably expensive and it’s not the answer. I mean, you’re going to sit there in a cubicle wrapped in plastic? These are businesses that a dying Joe, you can’t do that to people,” he said, also lashing Gov. Andrew Cuomo over the city’s harsh lockdowns.
“Take a look at New York and what’s happened to my wonderful city. For so many years, I loved it, it was vibrant. It’s dying, everyone’s leaving New York,” he said.
Biden responded by saying he didn’t see “red states” and “blue states” but blamed GOP state leaders for creating large spikes with relaxed social distancing measures.
“Look at the states that are having such a spike in the coronavirus. They’re the red states, or the states in the Midwest or the states in the upper Midwest — that’s where the spike is occurring significantly, but they’re all Americans,” Biden said.
“We have to say ‘wear these masks,’ number one, make sure we get the help that the businesses need — the money’s already been passed to do that, It’s been out there since the end of this summer and nothing’s happened,” he said, lashing lawmakers for their inaction on COVID relief.
In an apparent nod to the president’s comments, top Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa tweeted: “New York is shut down? News to me.”
Nearly 60 percent of businesses that closed nationwide during the COVID-19 pandemic are never reopening again, according to a report released this month.
A third of the Big Apple’s small businesses may also never reopen, according to a grim report from a leading industry group.
The Empire State is experiencing an alarming spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, prompting New York officials to reinstate cluster containment zones and shut down non-essential business and schools and certain neighborhoods.
Businesses located on the border of those red closure zones told The Post they were fed-up with losing customers to competitors just feet away.
On Thursday evening, Trump said state-enforced lockdowns weren’t a foolproof way to stop coronavirus outbreaks but carried dire economic consequences.
“Take a look at North Carolina. They’re having spikes and they’ve been closed and they’re getting killed financially. We can’t let that happen, Joe. You can’t let that happen,” the commander-in-chief said.
It was the pair’s first meeting since Trump contracted the coronavirus and then forced the cancelation of the second debate by boycotting it when organizers announced it would be made virtual.
The first Trump-Biden debate in Cleveland, Ohio, was panned as shambolic shouting match as the candidates spoke over each other and moderator Chris Wallace struggled to maintain control.