Governor Andrew Cuomo has, over the course of the coronavirus crisis, surrounded himself with familiar faces that have come and gone, and occasionally come back again for cameos within his administration or campaigns.
Old Cuomo hands that have made public appearances in recent weeks include Jim Malatras, the current president of SUNY Empire. Malatras, who looks like a compact version of Marvel Comics' Tony Stark, oversaw efforts to have schools come up with a plan to close.
Cuomo has also turned to Gareth Rhodes, a former press aide and advance man who ran for Congress in 2018 and then returned to the administration to work for the banking and insurance regulatory, the Department of Financial Services.
And on Monday, all of the governor’s former top aides made an appearance at the daily press briefings: Steve Cohen, Larry Schwartz, and Bill Mulrow. All men have held the title of secretary, which is analogous to a president’s chief of staff. All three have deep ties not just to the current governor, but to his late father Mario Cuomo as well.
Melissa DeRosa, the current top aide to the governor and the first woman to hold that role, has been fielding questions daily on the details of the executive orders that have rolled out of the administration.
DeRosa is leading the overall effort.
“In a way, this is like the band getting back together,” Cuomo said.
The response to the virus is a wide-ranging one. The pandemic has created a financial crisis and a meltdown of the state’s budget. The public health system could be overwhelmed in the near future by the influx of coronavirus patients.
Cuomo’s inner circle has changed dramatically over the course of the 10 years he has been governor. But the governor keeps a Rolodex, and there are those who never really leave his orbit.