Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday April 15, 2020
After Mocking ‘King’ Trump, Cuomo Says Virus Should Be ‘No-Politics Zone’
Since the coronavirus began to ravage New York, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has used a fine mix of outright flattery and back-room diplomacy to draw down a variety of federal support, preaching nonpartisanship while mostly avoiding direct attacks on President Trump.
In a span of about 24 hours this week, however, Mr. Cuomo, more typically known for his bruising political style, appeared to return to his roots.
In a frenzy of television appearances on Tuesday, Mr. Cuomo urged the president to avoid being “dictatorial.” He said on CNN that Mr. Trump’s coronavirus response had been “schizophrenic.” About 30 minutes later on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” he compared the president’s daily briefings to “a comedy skit,” while saying no governor should watch them because “there’s no value in it.”
Mr. Cuomo’s comments were prompted by Mr. Trump’s unsubstantiated claim during a White House news conference on Monday evening that he had “total authority” over the states when it came to reopening the economy.
That claim was quickly rebuked by several governors, including Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland, a Republican who heads the National Governors Association. But it was Mr. Cuomo who used the sharpest language, threatening to undo weeks of diplomacy toward the White House.
Mr. Cuomo’s shift in tone comes at a time when New York’s once-urgent need for immediate resources from the federal government has lessened, with many indicators showing a so-called flattening of the curve in the state.
It also followed the introduction of the governor’s new coalition with his counterparts from six neighboring states to draft a plan to reopen the region’s economy — a move that displeased President Trump, whose exasperation grew Tuesday after Mr. Cuomo’s media appearances.
“Cuomo’s been calling daily, even hourly, begging for everything, most of which should have been the state’s responsibility, such as new hospitals, beds, ventilators, etc.,” the president wrote on Twitter. “I got it all done for him, and everyone else, and now he seems to want Independence! That won’t happen!”
Mr. Trump followed up with another post in which, referring to the film “Mutiny on the Bounty,” he compared the governors’ coalition to mutineers turning on their captain.
But given a chance to respond at his daily news briefing later Tuesday morning, Mr. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat, held back, repeatedly saying that he did not want to argue with Mr. Trump.
“The president was clearly unhappy,” Mr. Cuomo said, noting the “Mutiny on the Bounty” tweet and other remarks by Mr. Trump, who he said “was clearly spoiling for a fight on this issue.” (New York News)