I’m sure Chris would say that he’s no more or less interested in Florida’s COVID outbreak than any other political observer, simply sharing the occasional thought about it on social media as people are wont to do.
But that’s hard to believe given his effusive cheerleading on CNN for his brother’s mangled pandemic response in New York. Particularly since Andrew Cuomo and Ron DeSantis have had a feud simmering over their states’ respective handling of the virus for months.
It’s hard to say when that feud took off but I think it was this clip from late May. DeSantis and his team were understandably pissed at the media’s incessant warnings amid New York’s darkest days that Florida was next. That was a logical enough assumption — Florida’s a big state with an outsized elderly population and lots of traffic with New York — but it also reeked of running political interference for Cuomo, an early effort to suggest that a Republican-run jurisdiction would have just as many problems eventually as a Democratic-run one had. DeSantis got fed up and made a point of noting here that he’d managed to hold cases down despite having so many visitors from Cuomo’s hot-spot state.
Good stuff from DeSantis here. pic.twitter.com/ESvo6Pb1uw
— Noam Blum (@neontaster) May 20, 2020
On the same day he said that, NRO ran an interview with DeSantis comparing the success of Florida’s response to the failure of New York’s. This passage figured prominently:
Florida fortified the hospitals with PPE, too, but DeSantis realized that it wouldn’t do the hospitals any good if infection in the nursing homes ran out of control : “If I can send PPE to the nursing homes, and they can prevent an outbreak there, that’s going to do more to lower the burden on hospitals than me just sending them another 500,000 N95 masks.”
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of this insight, and how much it drove Florida’s approach, counter to the policies of New York and other states. (“I don’t want to cast aspersions on others, but it is incredible to me, it’s shocking,” says the Florida health official, “that Governor Cuomo [and others] are able to kind of just avoid real questions about their policies early on to actually send individuals into the nursing home, which is completely counter to the real data.”)
DeSantis had issued an order in late March requiring visitors from New York to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Florida. By mid-June New York’s epidemic was in steep decline and Florida’s was beginning to pick up. Cuomo made a point of noting at a press conference at the time that the shoe was on the other foot at last, and threatened to impose a similar 14-day quarantine on Floridians: “If you went to Florida, you had to quarantine for two weeks because they were afraid that New Yorkers were bringing the virus to their state. Fast forward a 100 days, now we’re afraid they’re bringing the virus to our state.”
To which DeSantis replied with this roundhouse: “Governors have prerogative to do what they need to do. If that is done, please don’t quarantine Floridians in nursing homes in New York.” A top Cuomo advisor jabbed back, saying, “Maybe less time repeating right-wing Twitter bots and more time trying to competently manage the pandemic that’s spiking in his state. His citizens, which polls show have zero faith in him, might appreciate it.”
That was a month ago. Since then, the trends in the two states haven’t favored DeSantis…
…and I think the Cuomo boyz are eager to note it. It’s a bad look for two governors to be taking potshots at each other over who has the higher case count (Florida overtook New York just yesterday) or death toll (New York remains far, far, far ahead). But it’s a really bad look for one governor’s newscaster brother, who’s already been criticized by all sides for turning his “news” show into a showcase for soft-touch interview with his sibling, to start chiming in with shots at DeSantis as well. These three tweets appeared in succession on Chris Cuomo’s account last night (the middle one from CNN was retweeted by him):
Head of task force praising gov who mishandled pandemic https://t.co/nuxX4ePAa6
— Christopher C. Cuomo (@ChrisCuomo) July 28, 2020
Florida, with Gov. Ron DeSantis at the helm, has become a global ground zero for Covid-19 cases and a poster child for the Trump administration and its closest allies' failures in responding to the pandemic https://t.co/JQNCUZ8zFJ
— CNN (@CNN) July 27, 2020
Can we trust the data from florida’s governor? https://t.co/1rLT3YzUYe
— Christopher C. Cuomo (@ChrisCuomo) July 27, 2020
CNN puts this half-witted malignancy on television to cover for his incompetent brother because CNN is not a news organization. https://t.co/SHGvcPx8vx
— Luke Thompson (@ltthompso) July 28, 2020
I would have said “quarter-witted” but we needn’t quibble. Why would a Cuomo dare lead the criticism of another state’s governor knowing how badly his own brother botched New York’s? Simple: He wants to make Andrew’s disaster seem less disastrous by comparison and he knows his network won’t do a thing to stop him. He’s run propaganda pieces for Andrew *on CNN.* Management’s not going to bug him about trying to stir up a “DeSantis is the real failure” spin effort.
I’ll leave you with this, in which the governor of New York once again demonstrates that whether mass gatherings are acceptable or unacceptable depends purely on whether he agrees with their politics or not.
Videos from a concert held in Southampton on Saturday show egregious social distancing violations. I am appalled.
The Department of Health will conduct an investigation.
We have no tolerance for the illegal & reckless endangerment of public health.pic.twitter.com/gf9kggdo8w
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) July 28, 2020