The 10 Best Moments From Governor Cuomo’s COVID-19 Press Briefings
“Thank you for participating in a modicum of federal responsibility. Thank you for having the federal government participate in a federal emergency.”
Andrew Cuomo’s daily press briefings have been referred to as “the most comforting show on television right now” and “a staple of midday cable news” — and watching the New York governor every morning has become a ritual for people across the country.
His demonstrations of unwavering leadership have thrown him into the national spotlight, leaving some people wondering if there’s any chance in hell that he could become the next president. The New York Times called him “the control freak we need right now.” He’s been called a heartthrob (and a number of other much more amorous things). The bottom line: New York — and seemingly the rest of the country — loves Andrew Cuomo.
Using PowerPoint presentations as a guide, he presents clinical data, goes off on the occasional tangent, fact-checks the president of the United States, and provides a source of emotional comfort for many who appreciate his direct, straightforward delivery — even when he’s delivering bad news.
“I’m doing everything I can, but people are still dying and that is hurtful and humbling and painful. Just painful. And this is a long time to be under that level of pain. What do you look like when you come out the other side? I don’t know.” (April 2, 2020)
I take my job very seriously and I take my responsibility very seriously and I don’t make excuses. If I fail, I fail. If something breaks or something doesn’t work, that’s on me. I see those number of deaths every day and I take that personally.
“You want me to say thank you? Thank you for doing your job. Thank you for participating in a modicum of federal responsibility in a national crisis… Thank you for having the federal government participate in a federal emergency.” (April 17, 2020)
Read your own report next time before you criticize it.
“You don’t have the right to burden [other people] with your irresponsibility… You don’t have the right to risk someone else’s life.” (April 6, 2020)
What right do you have to act irresponsibly in a way that could get you sick or someone else sick? And then I have to send an ambulance to pick you up and bring you to an emergency room that’s already overburdened, that doesn’t have staff, doesn’t have supplies, doesn’t have ventilators, because you were reckless and irresponsible. You don’t have that right.
“It’s insensitive, it’s arrogant, it’s self-destructive, it’s disrespectful to other people, and it has to stop and it has to stop now. This is not a joke and I am not kidding.” (March 22, 2020)
I don’t know what I’m saying that people don’t get. I’m normally accused of being overly blunt and direct… I don’t know what they’re not understanding.
To be fair, he did warn everyone the day before that he would be going to the parks…
… and then called people out yet again a few weeks later:
“Well, what if? What if? What if? What if we can’t get the ventilators? What do we do if we don’t have enough ventilators? Then you use bag valve masks. What is a bag valve mask? This is a bag valve mask.” (March 28, 2020)
This is what you do if you have a person who needs a ventilator and you don’t have a ventilator. The way this works is it’s basically a manual ventilator, and someone squeezes the ventilator, the bag, continuously.
The governor then demonstrated how to use a bag valve mask.
“The way we basically are acquiring ventilators is the state is buying them. They are very expensive and the state is broke, so I have no desire to buy more ventilators than we need.” (April 2, 2020)
But we need what we need. If a person comes in and needs a ventilator and you don’t have a ventilator, the person dies.
“And then he says, this is a 50 piece puzzle. Oh no, no. That’s called the map of the United States. It’s not a puzzle. And those lines are called states and those states have constitutional power. “ (April 17, 2020)
Remember the way this whole thing starts? The colonies create the federal government, not the other way around. So, introduction to constitutional theory and policy.
“It always seems that the poorest people pay the highest price. Why is that?” (April 8, 2020)
Why is that? Whatever the situation is, there’s natural disaster, Hurricane Katrina. The people standing on those rooftops were not rich white people. Why? Why is it that the poorest people always pay the highest price? But let’s figure it out. Let’s do the work. Let’s do the research. Let’s learn from this moment and let’s learn these lessons and let’s do it now.
“Trying to access a government program is like trying to break into a bank sometimes.” (April 11, 2020)
By the way, you think you’re going to reopen the economy without the engine of the New York metropolitan area? You’re kidding yourself. You want to help New York, you want to help the places that are affected? Then repeal the SALT provision, which was a gratuitous, offensive, illegal — in my opinion — action to begin with…
“What are you going to grant me what the Constitution gave me before you were born? It’s called the 10th Amendment. I didn’t need the President of the United States to tell me that I’m governor… Maybe he should have read the constitution before he said he had the power to open the states.” (April 17, 2020)
I didn’t need the President of the United States to tell me the powers of a state. People did that. Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison. They are the ones who gave me the power and I don’t need the President of the United States to read the constitution for me.
Cuomo’s daily press briefings are streamed live on Facebook (where you can get notified every time he goes live) and on a variety of local news channels. They start each day around 11:30 AM ET.