Governor Cuomo and President Trump’s relationship has simmered during the coronavirus crisis but, largely, it has stayed on the right side of civil.
Both dominant New Yorkers, Cuomo has played Trump like a pro, praising him in public, appealing to his ego. That is now changing – fast.
It started with Trump’s bold and false claim that the president has “absolute power” – insisting he can overrule state governors who have issued stay at home orders. In a federal constitution that is not the case.
As Governor Cuomo was quick to point out: “We don’t have a king – we have a president.”
Trump’s self serving, grievance-filled briefings are widely being panned.
Asked if Cuomo had watched his most recent, most jaw dropping one, he replied: “No, a governor should not watch that. There’s no value in it. It would be – it is infuriating and offensive and, frankly, ignorant of the facts.”
So the gloves are off.
Trump tweeted that he calls the shots, claiming that Cuomo had been “calling daily, even hourly, begging for everything, most of which should have been the state’s responsibility”.
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. I got it all done for him, and everyone else, and now he seems to want Independence! That won’t happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 14, 2020
We are in the middle of a hyper-partisan election year but even in the middle of a pandemic crisis, politics will always find away into American discourse.
But Cuomo is insisting it shouldn’t.
“Sometimes, it takes more strength to walk away from a fight than engage it,” he said.
“I’ve stood here for 44 years. It’s not about me, it’s about ‘we.’ This is not time for politics, and it’s no time to fight.”
Cuomo added: “I put my hand out in total partnership with the president. If he wants a fight, he’s not going to get it from me. Period. This is a time to work together. In this reopening we could lose all the progress we made in one week, if we do it wrong.”
The US president is in hyper defence mode after intensified reporting that he repeatedly failed to absorb the extent of the coronavirus pandemic.
He is lashing out without restraint and his impatience to reopen America for business won’t be contained.
He’s watching the economy die right in front of his eyes, potentially taking his chances of re-election with it.
States have been making their own rules on lockdowns and social distancing measures. Broadly, the tighter ones are Democrat controlled.
The Republican ones followed a more hesitant path, in line with the president’s repeated downplaying of the pandemic.
As Trump’s impatience grows, we’re likely to see a fight between his desire to reopen the whole country with a bang and individual governors taking a much more cautious path.