Just after 8 a.m. Tuesday, President Donald Trump sent a Twitter rocket at Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“Cuomo wants ‘all states to be treated the same,’” tweeted Trump. “But all states aren’t the same. Some are being hit hard by the Chinese Virus, some are being hit practically not at all. New York is a very big ‘hotspot’, West Virginia has, thus far, zero cases. Andrew, keep politics out of it.”
Less than four hours later, Trump, at a coronavirus task force press briefing, said this about the New York governor:
“There’s great, tremendous spirit. And I can say that for Republicans and Democrats. I could say that with respect to Gov. Cuomo. We had a great talk this morning. We’re both doing a really good job and we’re coordinating it and we agree: different states need different things….
….My conversation with Andrew Cuomo was a very productive one and a very good one and I appreciate that.”
So it goes in the latest reality-TV-turned-real-world feud between Trump and Cuomo, the governor of Trump’s former home state and one of the hot spots in the country for the coronavirus outbreak.
The two men have emerged as the two most prominent figures in the country’s attempts to limit the spread of coronavirus, and – perhaps not surprisingly given their partisan affiliations and broader views on governance – have repeatedly clashed over who is doing the right thing and who is, well, not.
While the two have been sparring for the better part of the month over the proper reaction by governments to the threat posed by coronavirus, the latest chapter began in earnest Monday.
That’s when, on a conference call with reporters, Cuomo blasted the readiness of the Trump administration for just this sort of crisis – saying that they had been “behind from Day 1 of this crisis,” and adding that the overall response had been “inexcusable.”
Trump, never one to take the high road, well, didn’t.
“Just had a very good tele-conference with Nation’s Governors,” tweeted Trump. “Went very well. Cuomo of New York has to ‘do more.’”
To which Cuomo, of course, responded: “I have to do more? No — YOU have to do something! You’re supposed to be the President.” Cuomo then added this: “Happy to do your job, too. Just give me control of the Army Corps of Engineers and I’ll take it from there.”
By Tuesday, however, Cuomo seemed to have accepted Trump’s olive branch, tweeting:
“This is an extraordinary time in our history and we need to see government & people perform at their best.
“We’re not Democrats or Republicans—at the end of the day, we’re all Americans.
“This is a test of our character. New York will meet it.”
Maybe cooler heads will prevail! After all, the back-and-forth between Trump and Cuomo is a distraction for both of them at a time when neither can really afford to be distracted.
Unfortunately, knowing Trump, the only safe bet is that he will revert to lashing out when he believes it suits his purposes. So, probably tomorrow then.