Robert De Niro Says New York City During Coronavirus Pandemic 'Feels The Same' as 9/11

Actor Robert De Niro criticized the federal government's slow response to the coronavirus pandemic and praised New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his policies during a new interview Friday. The always-blunt New Yorker said the city feels the same as it did after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, as the city has seen more deaths than any other state outside New York. More than 13,000 deaths have been reported in New York City, passing the death toll from the attacks.

"I wish that people…the government had acted earlier," De Niro told CNN's Jake Tapper Friday, reports Deadline. "They had enough warning. Because we would not be at this stage of this pandemic, I think, if that had happened." The 76-year-old actor later compared the atmosphere in the city to the days after 9/11. "It feels the same, except this is…like something we see in a movie. It happened so fast," he said.

De Niro called it "unreal" to see most major cities around look empty. "You only see that in a movie, and it's happening to us." The Irishman actor then went on to praise Cuomo.

"Andrew Cuomo is doing a great job, though," he said. "It's so refreshing to see him speak and take charge, no matter what happens…He took action."
De Niro did have some kind words for one member of President Donald Trump's coronavirus task force, Dr. Anthony Fauci. "I think he's great," De Niro said of the Brooklyn-born doctor. "He's a New Yorker. Italian-American. I understand him without him having to say too much."

Cuomo and Trump have been at odds over the federal government's response to the coronavirus pandemic. On Friday, it appeared as though Trump was live-tweeting during Cuomo's press conference, arguing that Cuomo should "should spend more time 'doing' and less time 'complaining.'" "Get out there and get the job done. Stop talking!" Trump wrote. "We built you thousands of hospital beds that you didn't need or use, gave large numbers of Ventilators that you should have had, and helped you with.... testing that you should be doing."


A reporter read the tweets to Cuomo, who had two points to make. "First of all, if he's sitting home watching TV, maybe he should get up and go to work, right?" Cuomo said. "Second, let's keep emotion and politics out of this, and personal ego if we can. Because this is about the people."

New York City's death toll from the coronavirus passed the Sept. 11 attacks' death toll on April 6, reports the Associated Press. According to Johns Hopkins University's case tracker, the U.S. as more than 700,000 cases. The total number of deaths in New York City is now over 13,000. Queens County has seen more deaths than any other county in the country with more than 2,400 deaths.