Cuomo shows grace, compassion

Andrew Cuomo, gay news, Washington Blade
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) speaks at a press conference at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City on March 27, 2020. (Public domain photo by Senior Airman Sean Madden)

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has shown all of us what grace under pressure is while Trump has shown us what a truly sick and warped person he is.

Cuomo, speaking to the National Guard and FEMA setting up the emergency hospital in the Javits center said, “You are the best of us, and when we call on you, you are there. Every time the National Guard has been called out, they have made every New Yorker proud and I am proud to be with you yet again and I am proud to fight this fight with you. I bring you thanks from all New Yorkers who are so proud of the sacrifice you are making, the skills you are bringing and the talent you are bringing and you give New Yorkers confidence. You are the best of us, and when we call on you, you are there.”

Meanwhile, President Trump is saying he’s willing to help blue-state governors who are struggling to contain coronavirus outbreaks — but only if they’re willing to stop criticizing him in exchange.

“It’s a two-way street,” Trump told Fox News on Tuesday. “They have to treat us well, also. They can’t say, ‘Oh, gee, we should get this, we should get that.”

I first met Andrew Cuomo when he was 19 years old and I was doing field operations for his dad’s run-off campaign against Ed Koch for Mayor in 1977. Andrew was a brash young man who many felt was partially responsible for one of the nastier episodes of the campaign.

Since that time, I have followed his career and its ups and downs. As a young man, Andrew joined the Clinton administration as an Assistant Secretary in the Department of Housing and Urban Development eventually becoming Secretary. Then in 2002 — against good advice — he threw his hat in the ring for governor, and was beaten big-time before dropping out of the race and endorsing Carl McCall. He came back to win his race for attorney general in 2006 and his first race for governor in 2010. He won kudos for balancing the state budget and was thought to be cruising to reelection in 2014 having the chance to do better than his dad and maybe run for president in 2016. But after the election, a columnist wrote in the New York Times, “This was the election in which Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo had every reason to think he would outdo his father. He had kept his promise to steady New York’s teetering state government, restoring a sense of competent leadership in Albany after years of turmoil. He had cemented an image of himself as the Cuomo who got things done — not just gave memorable speeches — by recording high-profile victories legalizing same-sex marriage, capping property tax increases and tightening gun-control laws. He faced an unknown, underfinanced, socially conservative opponent. Instead, Mr. Cuomo, 56, who easily won re-election on Tuesday — but with what appeared to be a considerably smaller majority than the 65 percent that Gov. Mario M. Cuomo got during his bid for a second term, in 1986 — enters the next four years with less political clout than when the campaign began. … The governor’s future is uncertain, with a presidential bid presumably blocked by Hillary Rodham Clinton.”

While that may have been a too harsh assessment today, Cuomo in his third term as governor has once again proven he is more than just a good speech. He is about action and is being talked about as a future president although that may not come about as he is 62 years old. But whatever happens now Cuomo has secured his place in history as a courageous, smart and compassionate governor. He has shown grace in a crisis fighting for people’s lives today while giving them hope for a better future.

Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBTQ rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.

Published at Thu, 02 Apr 2020 08:47:10 +0000