New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday blasted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for suggesting states hard-hit financially by the pandemic declare bankruptcy instead of looking for help from Congress.
At his daily press conference in Albany, a visibly-irritated Cuomo called McConnell's proposal "one of the really dumb ideas of all time."
Displaying a slide of McConnell's face and remarks, Cuomo argued that if states like New York, California and Illinois declare bankruptcy, "You will see a collapse of this national economy -- so just dumb."
McConnell said Wednesday on The Hugh Hewitt Show that he saw "no good reason" for states not to declare bankruptcy and that Senate Republicans would not support a federal bailout of states that desperately need assistance.
ABC’s Andrew Dymburt reports for ABC News Radio:
Governors from both parties, he said, "would love to have free money," claiming many have gotten into a financial bind by being too generous with state pensions.
Cuomo, a high-profile Democrat, said it was "vicious" and "ugly" for the Republican leader's office to officially put out a press release saying, "Stopping Blue State Bailouts."
"What he's saying is when you look at the states that have coronavirus problems, they tend to be Democratic states," Cuomo said. "How ugly a thought -- I mean just think of what he's saying. People died. 15,000 people died in New York, but they were not predominantly Democrats, so why should we help them?"
"How irresponsible and how reckless," Cuomo added.
He pointed out that New York State contributes $116 billion more in revenues to the federal government than it gets from Washington, whereas Kentucky, McConnell's home state, takes much more from the federal government than it contributes.
"Senator McConnell, who's getting bailed out here?" Cuomo said. "It's your state that's living on the money that we generate. Your state is getting bailed out. Not my state."
McConnell's comments drew rebukes from some fellow Republicans.
GOP Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland argued that several states filing bankruptcy at the same time is the "last thing we need in the middle of an economic crisis."
"Mitch McConnell probably regrets saying that," Hogan said Thursday at his daily news conference. "If he doesn’t regret it yet, I think he will regret it. And I think he’s going to change his mind about that."
Hogan is chairman of the bipartisan National Governors Association, which sent a letter earlier this week asking McConnell for $500 billion to help states deal with lost revenue. Cuomo is the association's vice chair.
Rep. Peter King, a New York Republican who is retiring this year, called McConnell's comments "shameful and indefensible."
"To say that it is 'free money' to provide funds for cops, firefighters and healthcare workers makes McConnell the Marie Antoinette of the Senate," King said Wednesday night on Twitter.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who frequently calls McConnell the Grim Reaper, criticized him Thursday morning on the House floor.
"What does Senator McConnell say, 'I think the states should go bankrupt.' Oh really? And not pay the hospitals, first responders, and the rest -- Oh really? What made you think that was a good idea? It's just more notion-mongering to get attention, I guess," Pelosi said.
What to know about the coronavirus:
Tune into ABC at 1 p.m. ET and ABC News Live at 4 p.m. ET every weekday for special coverage of the novel coronavirus with the full ABC News team, including the latest news, context and analysis.
ABC News' Chris Donovan and Trish Turner contributed to this report.