Cuomo's coronavirus halo begins to fade
NEW YORK — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo made it very clear who was in charge as coronavirus began to infiltrate his state. The governor — in near-daily nationally televised appearances — said he would make difficult but necessary choices to contain the spread and would take the blame for any negative effects on New Yorkers' lives.
“The buck stops on my desk,” Cuomo said to both a New York and national audience on March 17, after ordering bars and restaurants to close across the state. “Your local mayor did not close your restaurants, your bars, your gyms or your schools. I did. I did. I assume full responsibility. ... If you are upset by what we have done, be upset at me.”
Two and a half months into the crisis, Cuomo’s take-charge attitude has begun to soften. The governor, who gained legions of fans for his briefings that blended an authoritative tone with a personal touch, is increasingly on the defensive — and casting blame on the federal government and its guidance.
“Who should have known?” he said at a press conference last week, explaining that the state could have better controlled the virus if someone told him it had spread to Europe. “It’s above my paygrade as the governor of one state, but what federal agency? What international health organization? I don’t know. It’s not what I do; it’s not my responsibility. But someone has to answer that question.”
Gone is the split-screen Cuomo often shared with President Donald Trump early in the ...
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