New York Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke during the first night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention Monday. As was expected, he attacked President Trump’s abysmal performance on containing the coronavirus pandemic. Our “current federal government is dysfunctional and incompetent,” he said, correctly.
Unfortunately, Cuomo is perhaps the single least credible person in the entire country to make this criticism. As I have outlined in detail previously, Cuomo frittered away weeks bickering with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio while the virus was spreading like wildfire in the New York City metro area, only locking down his state after it was too late. And as we have since learned, his decision to force nursing homes to accept COVID-19 cases almost certainly caused thousands and thousands more infections and deaths.
Though New York has since largely gotten the outbreak under control, Cuomo’s initial performance was a world-historical catastrophe. His state has the second-highest rate of COVID-19 fatalities of any in the country (just behind New Jersey, which was essentially part of the same outbreak). If it were its own country New York would have by far the highest death rate in the world. In a sense, Governor Cuomo was right to say, “government matters and leadership matters.” His record is an object lesson in what happens when that job is done poorly.