In his prime-time address, Governor Andrew Cuomo zeroed in on the topic that has dominated – and defined – the last six months of his governorship, as well as the nation’s.
“COVID is the symptom, not the illness," the governor said. "Our nation is in crisis. And in many ways, COVID is a metaphor. A virus attacks when the body is weak and cannot defend itself. Over these last several years, America’s body politic has been weakened.”
Cuomo took aim at President Donald Trump, saying he’s exploiting the political fault lines in this country. But Cuomo added that things were far more divided than they should have been, long before Trump was elected.
“Donald Trump didn’t create the initial division. The division created Trump. He only made it worse," the governor said. "Our collective strength is exercised through government. It is in effect our immune system. And our current federal government is dysfunctional and incompetent.”
Cuomo is often compared to his father, former Governor Mario Cuomo, whose speech at the 1984 Democratic Convention is still talked about as a stark reminder where Democrats stand versus Republicans when it comes to meeting the needs of working people.
Cuomo was asked about that speech earlier in the day Monday, and whether he felt any pressure to live up to his father’s eloquence nearly 40 years later.
“Do I feel pressure from my father’s legacy? Only every day,” the younger Cuomo said.
Cuomo went on to say that the circumstances are very different in 2020 than they were in 1984, so you can’t really compare the two speeches.
During his speech, Cuomo took until the very end to mention his longtime friend and the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, Joe Biden.
“Joe Biden can restore the soul of America. And that’s exactly what our country needs today," the governor said.
Four years ago, Cuomo had a longer speech at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, although it wasn’t in prime time. For this convention, he had a more prominent time slot, but most everyone’s speech was a bit shorter, including the governor’s.