Last year, as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the country and upended the race for the White House, then-President Donald Trump received word national Democrats wanted Joe Biden weakened enough so they could replace him with Gov. Andrew Cuomo on the presidential ticket.
Trump's source, according to journalist Michael Wolff's forthcoming book "Landslide," was Fox News personality Sean Hannity.
According to a portion of the book obtained by Spectrum News 1, Trump met with Republican strategist Karl Rove in the Oval Office to discuss the theory of a Cuomo-led Democratic ticket. Trump believed the plan was being orchestrated by former President Barack Obama, and even suggested one possibility was to have Michelle Obama run on the ticket with Cuomo.
Rove, according to the book, found the claim to be a "bizarre theory."
At the time of the White House meeting with Rove and Trump, Cuomo had become a key national figure, providing daily televised briefings on the state's repsonse to the COVID-19 pandemic. For Democrats and critics of the president, Cuomo's public efforts were seemingly a positive alternative to Trump's approach in handling the crisis.
Cuomo insisted for much of last year he would not run for president and similarly said he intended to remain governor of New York when asked if he would accept a spot on the ticket as the vice presidential nominee.
But around the time of the Oval Office meeting with Rove and more than a dozen other aides as described in the book, Trump heaped criticism on Cuomo for his handling of the pandemic — from federal requests for ventilators and other resources to requests for information surrounding nursing home fatalities — even as the state and federal governments worked together to set up mass hospitalization units through the Army Corps of Engineers.
Nevertheless, often portions of Cuomo's briefings when seeking help from the federal government seemed aimed at an audience of one in Washington, D.C.
Wolff's book will be published on July 27.