New York / Washington – Andrew Cuomo speaks to the National Guard, behind him hundreds of beds in a makeshift emergency clinic in Manhattan. The symbolism is clear: the governor as the linchpin in great need.
As the first crisis manager in New York. This proudest of all metropolises, which even 9/11 could not blow away – but is now faced with a danger that shakes its foundations similarly.
For many Americans, Cuomo has become the actual leader in the pandemic far beyond its state’s borders in recent weeks. They watch his morning press conferences, which are now being broadcast on TV channels and news sites. It is often those who are disappointed by President Donald Trump in the crisis.
“It will take weeks after weeks after weeks. It will be a long day. And it’s going to be a tough day. And it will be an ugly day. And it will be a sad day, “Cuomo calls out to the armed forces that were parked in the crisis. He doesn’t gloss over anything, the 62-year-old speaks plain text, his trademark. Cuomo – whose father Mario was already governor – exudes security and calm, he conveys the feeling of being in control of a hardly controllable situation.
And he can talk: an hour with questions, free and without a script, but still structured. Undeterred, the Democrat has the facts on how ventilators work or studies on antibody tests, as if he had never done anything else. He is experienced but does not look old, is serious, but keeps his joke. He announced that hospitals that now doubled their capacity would be awarded the “Golden Star”. “I don’t know exactly what that is, but I’ll deal with that later.”
PRESIDENT IN OLD BEHAVIOR
The White House shows that there is another way to face the greatest challenge since the terrorist attacks in 2001. Trump is clearly struggling to give a serious crisis manager. But he keeps falling out of his role and into old behavior patterns. For example, there is his aversion to critical media: a few days ago, he dismissed a journalist who asked what he would say to the frightened Americans as president. “I say that you are a terrible reporter,” Trump scolded.
As is well known, he also struggles to admit mistakes. In mid-March, Trump said when asked if he took responsibility for the lack of tests: “No, I take no responsibility at all.” For comparison, Cuomo said after his imposition of exit restrictions: “I take full responsibility”.
The Republican’s insistence that it was a “Chinese virus” or a “foreign virus” is also symptomatic – a problem that came from outside. He knows of no shame when it comes to self-praise, which also shines through in times of crisis. When asked how he would rate his corona policy on a scale of one to ten, Trump gave the top mark.
THE PROBLEM WITH THE INSTINCT
Trump tends to trust his gut feeling as a scientist, so he also finds it difficult to cope with this crisis. Last week, he suddenly advocated that the US should largely return to normal operations by Easter. This brought him criticism of putting the economy above the lives of the elderly and sick in particular. Then Trump suddenly turned around again after talking to his most important medical experts – and extended the protective measures on Sunday evening (local time) until the end of April.
There are also empty promises. “Anyone who needs a test gets a test,” the president announced three weeks ago. This is still not the case in the United States. His forecast from the end of February that the number of coronavirus cases in the USA from 15 back then would soon return to “close to zero” also proved to be wrong. Instead, the United States now has more known coronavirus infections than any other country in the world.
A MOMENT THAT SHAPES PERSONALITIES
So far, Cuomo has largely avoided criticizing the President directly. He doesn’t want to attract Trump’s anger, on which he depends in many ways. Attacks in the fundamentally deeply divided US society could give the impression of political trench warfare. Cuomo cannot use that, as the demands on social media are already increasing that he may run as a Trump challenger in the presidential election in November. Trump has apparently already dealt with it: “To be honest, he would be a better candidate than Sleepy Joe,” he told Fox News on Monday, alluding to Joe Biden.
Cuomo keeps emphasizing that his first goal is to save lives. He had made painful decisions and was sure that they would have political consequences for him as governor. “I don’t care to speak plain text. I did the right thing and I’m proud of it. ” And at least indirectly, he countered Trump’s plan to loosen the restrictions when he said that his mother Matilda was not “expendable.” “These are our parents and gran(TEH)rents, these are our aunts and uncles, this is our relative who is sick. And every instinct says: Help them, protect them because they need us! “.
With a slightly swollen tone, he looks presidential in front of the National Guard. “You are experiencing a historic moment,” Cuomo says. “A moment that will change this nation. A moment that shapes personalities “. And one suspects that he may also mean himself. “So I’m telling you, my friends, let’s go out and kick this virus in the ass.” A short time later, the crisis manager disappears into the depths of the hall. Save lives.