What to Know About New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo as He Is Thrust Into Coronavirus Spotlight and Tussles with Trump


For a lot of Individuals in the present day the nation has by no means seen a extra unsure time or been a extra unsure place, as well being officers and all ranges of presidency scramble to comprise the new coronavirus pandemic.

Till the disruptive cloud of the coronavirus fades from every day life, quite a few workplaces and colleges sit empty — their staff and college students despatched dwelling — with eating places, bars, theaters and different public locations shuttered to encourage social distancing that may sluggish new infections.

The virus, which causes the respiratory illness COVID-19, has killed greater than 1,000 folks within the U.S., which overtook China this week as the epicenter of the outbreak worldwide.

New York is the epicenter of the epicenter, with almost half of all confirmed circumstances within the nation and a couple of third of the deaths, based on accessible knowledge on Friday.

As such, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has grow to be the face of the nation’s state leaders, holding every day press conferences with a tone that borders someplace between blunt and brutal, strict however reasonable: able to explaining what have to be completed however clear concerning the menace as properly — and the dimensions and size of the response required from everybody within the state.

This strategy has drawn a distinction with President Donald Trump, who downplayed the virus in comparison with the seasonal flu and claimed it was being politicized as a “hoax” earlier than sharply reversing his rhetoric final week.

Cuomo and Trump have additionally been at odds over the virus, although the sources wanted to combat it require them to coordinate and Trump has insisted they work collectively.

“YOU need to do one thing! You’re alleged to be the President,” Cuomo tweeted at Trump on March 16. On Thursday, Trump urged he didn’t assume New York wanted the tens of 1000’s of extra ventilators it had requested.

“We had been a freight practice shifting throughout the nation. We’re now a bullet practice,” Cuomo stated Tuesday. That very same day, Trump stated he was “hopeful to have Individuals working once more by that Easter” although well being officers proceed to warn in opposition to dashing again to normalcy as they study extra about how and how briskly the virus spreads.

“We haven’t flattened the curve,” Cuomo stated, “and the curve is definitely rising.”

Right here’s what you recognize about Cuomo and his nationwide highlight second.

BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP through Getty Gov. Andrew Cuomo addressing the media on the Javits Heart in Manhattan, the place state and federal emergency staff are setting up a brief discipline hospital to help coronavirus sufferers.

The 62-year-old father of three was born into politics and his life has largely been molded by it: Gov. Cuomo’s father, the late Mario Cuomo, grew to become the state’s lieutenant governor when Andrew was in his early 20s after which went on to serve three phrases because the state’s governor from 1983 to 1994. Andrew served as his dad’s marketing campaign supervisor.

The youthful Cuomo took a place in President Bill Clinton’s Division of Housing and City Improvement in 1993 and finally grew to become the Housing secretary in 1997 earlier than turning again dwelling to New York and turning into the state’s legal professional basic and finally its governor in 2010, following in his father’s footsteps.

His tough and hard character has usually ruffled feathers throughout the Democratic Occasion, according to a New York Times profile on his rise through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Within the Occasions view, “He was an excessive amount of of a pragmatist for his get together’s progressive wing, too self-focused for get together leaders and too brusque for almost everybody.”

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TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP through Getty Andrew Cuomo (left) elevating the hand of his father, the late Gov. Mario Cuomo at a marketing campaign rally in 2006.

However with a Republican president within the Oval Workplace and social distancing efforts relinquishing the Democratic Occasion’s possible presidential nominee to video messages from his personal basement, Cuomo “is rising because the get together’s most outstanding voice in a time of disaster.”

“He’s competing with the administration,” political strategist Scott Levenson told New York TV station WPIX. “It is a governor going in opposition to a nationwide, presidential chief who’s simply not in a position to get out of his personal approach.”

Along with rising as much as finally assist his father grow to be the state’s governor, Cuomo was married for 15 years to Kerry Kennedy, the daughter of late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, with whom he shares three daughters: Cara, Mariah and Michaela.

The union with a Kennedy was extremely publicized between 1990 and 2005, after which Cuomo started a longterm relationship with TV chef and famed life-style character Sandra Lee (which ended last year).

His youthful brother, Chris Cuomo, is a CNN anchor. Chris’ interviews with the governor through the pandemic have gone viral largely due to their familial banter.

“Thanks for coming again to the present,” Chris stated in a single latest section.

“Mother advised me I needed to,” his brother quipped in response.

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Cuomo’s Coronavirus Messaging

Whereas President Trump has, at occasions, continued to ship nonchalant messages concerning the coronavirus — evaluating it to the seasonal flu as late as this week, although specialists say it’s way more harmful if it additionally infects thousands and thousands of individuals — Cuomo has modified his tune together with new data from well being officers and has been direct with New Yorkers, at occasions being patronizingly illiberal about what he sees as shortcomings with the federal authorities’s response to the outbreak.

On Tuesday, Cuomo criticized the Federal Emergency Administration Company after he stated he realized it was sending the state 400 ventilators — a respiratory machine that helps pump oxygen into coronavirus sufferers’ diseased lungs.

With out the ventilators, Harvard-trained doctor William Li told Health magazine, “the virus an infection causes pneumonia and extreme irritation that cripples the lung’s perform.”

“You desire a pat on the again for sending 400 ventilators?” Cuomo stated Tuesday, not directly addressing the federal authorities and its COVID-19 response. “What are we going to do with 400 ventilators once we want 30,000 ventilators? You’re lacking the magnitude of the issue and the issue is outlined by the magnitude.”

Earlier that day in a digital city corridor hosted by Fox Information, Trump coronavirus job power response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx painted a grim image for New York’s metro space when she defined the speed at which the virus is believed to be infecting folks within the metropolis is “4 to 5 occasions [more than] some other place within the nation.”

“I feel a part of it’s density, a part of is the unfold which will have occurred on steel surfaces like within the subway and people who had been within the subway,” Birx stated. “A part of it might be a lot of folks got here again after Christmas from Asia that didn’t get caught up within the closure.”

Trump interjected: “Do you blame the governor for that?”

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As New York Metropolis seems to be increasingly more like a warning to different elements of the nation, Cuomo’s rhetoric has responded to what’s occurring at a nationwide scale as properly.

“Details are empowering. Even when the information are discouraging, not realizing the information is worse,” he tweeted Thursday, seemingly explaining his completely different strategy to the outbreak than Trump’s. “I promise that I’ll proceed to offer New Yorkers all of the information, not selective information.”

“Thanks Mr President…sorry, I imply Governor Cuomo,” one person responded with a photoshopped picture of Gov. Cuomo talking from the White Home briefing room the place Trump usually delivers his messages.

Each Cuomo and Trump, like many authorities officers across the globe, initially labeled the virus “low threat,” however their respective tones on the state of affairs modified weeks aside.

In early February, earlier than there have been any confirmed circumstances of the virus in New York, Cuomo tweeted that “the chance to New Yorkers from the novel coronavirus stays low, however we’re taking each precaution.”

As soon as circumstances had been confirmed there beginning on March 1, nonetheless, Cuomo responded with every day press briefings, statewide orders to quell worth gouging on sanitation gadgets and pushed Vice President Mike Pence to loosen federal restrictions and permit personal labs to manage their very own coronavirus testing kits in lieu of the delayed and defective federal testing kits which had been criticized by governors across the nation for taking too lengthy to reach.

As soon as the checks had been extra broadly accessible, as well being officers anticipated, the variety of confirmed circumstances across the nation (and significantly in New York Metropolis) skyrocketed by the 1000’s.

On March 2, Cuomo directed all New York medical insurance firms to waive prices for coronavirus checks, together with emergency room, pressing care and workplace visits.

“We will’t let value be a barrier to entry to COVID-19 testing for any New Yorker,” he tweeted.

Trump introduced an identical directive in his Oval Workplace tackle 9 days later, saying on March 11 that non-public medical insurance firms had “agreed to waive all co-payments for coronavirus therapies, prolong insurance coverage protection to those therapies, and to stop shock medical billing.”

On March 3, Cuomo thanked New York legislators for granting $40 million in emergency aid to the state’s response efforts on the identical day the state confirmed its second case of the virus.

The subsequent day, Congress handed an $8.Three billion coronavirus assist package deal that was dwarfed this week by a historic $2 trillion assist invoice the federal government hopes will buoy the economic system after greater than three million Individuals filed for unemployment in a single week in the course of March.

Cuomo and Trump have made comparisons between the coronavirus and the flu — although Cuomo final did so publicly on March 6 whereas Trump continued to match the viruses late into March, although the coronavirus is extra contagious and lethal.

The governor has worked with federal emergency officers to remodel the Javits Conference Heart in Manhattan right into a pop-up hospital with 1000’s of beds to assist cut back the variety of sufferers within the state’s hospital system.

Cuomo “by no means desires to be the one who breaks,” a profile in The Atlantic noted final 12 months.

A part of his elevated profile owes to how carefully he adopts the traditional fashion of a frontrunner in disaster: decisive and stern and assessing — the robust man as governor, however one who depends on knowledge and professional opinion.

“On this time of disaster, with little concrete data accessible, I want Cuomo’s measured bullying, his love of circumventing the federal authorities, his sparring with increasingly incompetent metropolis management,” wrote Jezebel’s Rebecca Fishbein in a weblog put up attribute of some New Yorkers rallying to a extra reasonable, profession politician they could have as soon as vilified.

Spencer Platt/Getty Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks to the media on March 13 after touring among the state’s drive-thru COVID-19 testing areas.

Cuomo’s Criticisms

A lot of the protection of the governor’s coronavirus response could also be rose-colored — however that’s not true of his entire time in workplace.

“We shouldn’t sanctify Andrew Cuomo proper now,” Rolling Stone columnist Jamil Smith wrote whereas criticizing the governor’s motion on legal justice reform.

Jezebel’s Fishbein acknowledged the conflicting feelings some New Yorkers have in terms of admiring Cuomo now, riffing on the contradiction in sardonic phrases.

“Andrew Cuomo, Pricey Chief, will care for me. He loves me. He’s the one one who’s right here for me. He’ll assist me get via this,” Fishbein wrote. “And once I lastly do, I’ll want an countless quantity of anti-brainwash remedy so I can rightfully yell at him for utilizing jail labor to make hand sanitizer.”

As Fishbein famous, Cuomo was criticized earlier this month when he launched the state’s plan to make its personal hand sanitizer to combat off worth gouging and nationwide shortages, however with a catch: It was being made by prisoners who typically work for lower than $1, according to The Washington Post, and don’t have entry to it themselves.

Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley, a progressive, referred to as Cuomo’s plan “demeaning, ironic, and exploitative.”

Earlier than the coronavirus modified the dialog, Cuomo was additionally going through backlash for getting in the best way of rehabilitation efforts for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which finally led to the resignation of Andy Byford, a long-beloved president of the New York Metropolis Transit Authority, who clashed with Cuomo about how one can repair town’s beleaguered subway system.

On Byford’s remaining day, crowds gathered within the subway to ship him off in effusive fashion, with selfie traces, indicators bearing messages of help and a refrain of bagpipes.

Cuomo’s reported resistance to taking part in good with different authorities officers has additionally not disappeared. He and N.Y.C. Mayor Invoice de Blasio, a daily foe, have argued publicly about what they every imagine is one of the best ways to deal with the virus.

De Blasio led the criticism in opposition to Cuomo for dragging the choice to name for a statewide shelter-in-place order much like different states like California and Illinois. Cuomo finally reversed himself and made an government order final week, which went into place on Sunday evening throughout the state.

However nationwide, Cuomo’s choices have repeatedly been framed side-by-side with President Trump.

“For the previous a number of days, Individuals have heard two public officers’ very alternative ways of talking and realized why fluency and persuasion are so essential in occasions of disaster,” learn a recent column. “That is true not solely of content material but in addition of bearing: How do the phrases and poses chosen by our leaders inform morale as we hunker down in our houses?”

As details about the coronavirus pandemic quickly adjustments, PEOPLE is dedicated to offering the latest knowledge in our protection. Among the data on this story might have modified after publication. For the newest on COVID-19, readers are inspired to make use of on-line sources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and go to our coronavirus hub.





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