Governor Cuomo: "You know where we are now? Dow Jones tumbles again, fear of second wave. That's what happens when you reopen and you don't do it intelligently, you do it politically." Cuomo: "Mr. Floyd's murder, that is one in a long list of horrendous …
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Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo was a guest on CBS Sunday Morning to discuss New York State’s response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and criminal justice reform.
AUDIO is available here.
A rush transcript of the Governor’s interview is available below:
Jane Pauley (voiceover): He’s been among the most, if not the most, prominent governors in the land in these past few months. Which is why I’m in conversation with New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo. The executive mansion in Albany, New York, has been home to, among others, Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt.
Governor Cuomo: FDR, this is a wheelchair he used in this home.
Jane Pauley (voiceover): And for the past nine years, Andrew Cuomo.
Jane Pauley: It’s a lovely home, but it’s not homey. Where’s the homey part.
Governor Cuomo: There is no homey part. We live more on the second floor, which is a little more casual.
Jane Pauley (voiceover): And familiar. His father, Mario Cuomo, who died in 2015, was a three-term governor of New York.
Governor Cuomo: I can see him sitting right in that corner, watching a ballgame with the telephone. He was never more than 10 feet away from the telephone.
Jane Pauley (voiceover): Today, Andrew Cuomo is having a moment. Despite being the global epicenter of the COVID crisis this spring, suffering a staggering death toll of 25,000.
Governor Cuomo: It was a silent explosion that just ripples through society.
Jane Pauley (voiceover): New Yorkers give their governor an approval rating of nearly 80 percent. COVID arrived with a single confirmed case on March 1st.
Governor Cuomo (clip): Her condition is mild.
Jane Pauley (voiceover): Three weeks later, infections now in the thousands.
Governor Cuomo (clip): New York State on pause.
Jane Pauley (voiceover): Cuomo shut down the state. Some say not soon enough.
Governor Cuomo (clip): The curve is actually increasing.
Jane Pauley (voiceover): He marshaled New Yorkers to battle the curve.
Governor Cuomo (clip): The virus rate is solely dependent on what you do.
Jane Pauley (voiceover): He How high and how steep was in their hands.
Governor Cuomo: We slowed the infection rate by our actions.
Jane Pauley: You have a political jujitsu, you and a handful of other governors asked people to do hard things and got more popular.
Governor Cuomo: Go figure.
Governor Cuomo (clip): When is it over? Nobody knows.
Governor Cuomo: This was a frightening period. People were afraid for their life, literally. How do I keep my elderly parents safe?
Jane Pauley: You personally?
Governor Cuomo: I felt that also. And I wanted to connect with the people i was talking to.
Jane Pauley (voiceover): And talk he did.
Governor Cuomo (clip): Today is day 56.
Jane Pauley (voiceover): From March 2nd until just last Friday.
Governor Cuomo (clip): From worst to first. We are controlling this virus better than any state in the country.
Jane Pauley (voiceover): 111 daily briefings kept New Yorkers informed and riveted.
Governor Cuomo (clip): You pick the 26,000 people who are going to die.
Jane Pauley (voiceover): While watching the curve rise
Governor Cuomo (clip): 779 people.
Jane Pauley (voiceover): The state needed help from the federal government.
Governor Cuomo (clip): Just give me my money back, senator.
Jane Pauley (voiceover): He called on another New Yorker: President Trump, also from Queens. Some say, that’s where the similarity ends.
Governor Cuomo: I said to the president, there’s only one truth. My state needs help, every state needs help. This is a federal crisis, and if you shirk your federal responsibility, I will say that. And I was true to that. The president sent in the Army Corps of Engineers, and we built temporary hospitals all across the state. He sent up the U.S. Navy Ship Comfort. He did that.
Jane Pauley (voiceover): But, in Cuomo’s view, President Trump could have, and should have, done more.
President Trump (clip): I knew he appreciates it. He just can’t quite get the words out, but that’s okay.
Governor Cuomo: This was a federal crisis, the federal government should step in, aggressively, and own it. In my state, I owned the situation.
Jane Pauley: For better or worse.
Governor Cuomo: For better or worse. It was always a schizophrenia from the federal government. They would help when pushed to help. There were voices that always wanted to minimize it. “This is just the flu, it’s going to be pass.
President Trump (clip): Because you know, this virus is going to disappear.
Governor Cuomo: And then there was a desire to reopen, reopen, reopen.
President Trump (clip): I’d love to have it open by Easter.
Governor Cuomo: And you know where we are now? Dow Jones tumbles again, fear of second wave. That’s what happens when you reopen and you don’t do it intelligently, you do it politically.
Jane Pauley (voiceover): After peaking in early April, New York began to flatten the curve. And in May, it started to bend.
Governor Cuomo (clip): New Yorkers grabbed that projection curve with two hands and pulled it down.
Jane Pauley (voiceover): By June, the state reported the lowest infection rate in the nation.
Governor Cuomo (clip): We’ve been on the decrease for the past 60 days.
Jane Pauley (voiceover): But at such great cost, is it a wonder that people are weary and eager to move on? Despite COVID cases rising in more than 20 states, the president
President Trump (clip): It’s bad out there, right?
Jane Pauley (voiceover): ...is in campaign mode, holding rallies and declining to wear a mask.
Jane Pauley: Masks became an ideology.
Governor Cuomo: Yes, and that was a mistake.
Jane Pauley: Who made that mistake? Was it the President?
Governor Cuomo: The history books are going to have to decide.
Jane Pauley: How will history record? You answer that question.
Governor Cuomo: I’ll answer for my actions and then history will decide.
Jane Pauley (voiceover): History turns on times like these. In rapid succession, three seismic events: the global pandemic, an economic aftershock, and then eight minutes and 46 seconds that galvanized the world.
Jane Pauley: In this social movement against 400 years of racism in this country there is a moment. How do you capture it? How do you make it last?
Governor Cuomo: That’s a great question. Mr. Floyd’s murder, that is one in a long list of horrendous situations. We can go back to Rodney King, 30 years ago, Amadou Diallo, brutalized. Eric Garner was killed in New York much the same way six years earlier. Outrage, but not the national and international outrage. I think it is because it’s the same moment between COVID and Mr. Floyd’s murder, we are one, we are connected. When you killed Mr. Floyd, you killed my brother, my family member.
Governor Cuomo (clip): I stand with the protestors.
Jane Pauley (voiceover): Just as millions of American families have watched history unfold at home together, so has the Cuomo family in a grand house where old and new memories meet.
Governor Cuomo: All of the family holidays were here. My mother did the renovation of the whole mansion so my mother can walk into a room now and she’ll tell you exactly every piece of furniture, every piece of fabric. So there are a lot of great memories.
Jane Pauley (voiceover): New York’s former first lady, Matilda Cuomo, hasn’t seen the house or her son lately.
Jane Pauley: When did you see your mother last?
Governor Cuomo: Oh, it breaks my heart. I have not seen her since this started. I put myself in a lot of situations where I might be exposed. My mother is still young, but she is in a category where she is vulnerable. So I have literally not seen her since this started.
Jane Pauley (voiceover): But the governor doesn’t lack for company. The Covid lockdown brought his three daughters home.
Governor Cuomo: This is a gift. This will never happen again. Every second I get, I spend time with them.
Jane Pauley: And the boyfriend?
Governor Cuomo: And the boyfriend was here. The boyfriend is now gone. Not, he’s still in the overall picture.
Jane Pauley (voiceover): Cuomo was married for 15 years to Kerry Kennedy, the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, and until last year was in a long relationship with author and TV chef Sandra Lee, but he is unattached for now.
Jane Pauley: You are a bachelor. You’ve got a nice house here. Having a moment, and you can’t do a thing with it. Is your social life in a Phase 1 relationship, possibly? Is that an unfortunate set of circumstances?
Governor Cuomo: Well, I think—
Jane Pauley: I know you’re a bachelor. I know you’ve talked about being available.
Governor Cuomo: Yeah, the house isn’t mine, sort of like a rental. I will move out one day. I can reopen the economy, but dating, that’s a whole different thing beyond my control.
Jane Pauley: Pity, isn’t it? I find it really hard to accept, after decades in government, you don’t have a political agenda in your future that’s on the back of your mind. Four years from now, either Donald Trump will not run for reelection, or Joe Biden will be 82 and probably there will be a search for a Democratic nominee and I cannot believe that Andrew Cuomo won’t be on that stage.
Governor Cuomo: Joe Biden is going to be the President of the United States. I believe that. I believe Joe Biden will run for a second term.
Jane Pauley: At 82?
Governor Cuomo: Yes, and I hope to be the Governor of the State of New York. I have something to contribute. This is my home. I love it and I’m happy.
Jane Pauley: What is it with the Cuomos? The fact that your father never ran for president is still, you know, one of the great mysteries of political life. What does your mother say?
Governor Cuomo: We haven’t had that conversation.
Jane Pauley: Really?
Governor Cuomo: Really.