The difference between the two is striking—in tone, content, and delivery. Cuomo sits at a table, aides seated at a safe distance on either side. Trump stands at a podium, aides crowded shoulder to shoulder behind him. Those visuals alone tell you a lot about the level of respect each gives his assistants in these perilous times.
Cuomo speaks calmly, with assurance, looking at the reporters, gesturing on occasion. He’s informative and articulate. He uses no notes, but prepared highlights of his main points appear on a screen as he speaks. He exudes genuine concern and believes in what he’s saying. He understands the human condition and shares personal stories. Discussing families in distress, he talks about his experience when his daughter was in isolation and says three-word sentences can make a difference: “I love you. I miss you. I need you.”
He inspires confidence, even as he announces a new level of restriction for the residents of his state. Sensitive to words, he calls his plan New York State on PAUSE: Policies that Assure Uniform Safety for Everyone. “Shelter in Place” scares people, he points out; it’s associated in many people’s minds with active shooter situations or nuclear attacks.
He tells people not to blame anyone county officials, mayors or others of that ilk for the heightened restrictions. “I accept full responsibility,” he declares. When the crisis is over, he wants to be able to say he did everything he could to save lives.
In a word, Gov. Cuomo is presidential.
Our president, quite frankly, is not. He doesn’t take responsibility. He doesn’t inspire confidence. He came late to the game and can’t catch up. He sees everything through the prism of his own self-interest. He insults reporters.
My family—siblings, offspring, and nieces and nephews—are scattered about the country. Like all families at times like this, we worry about each other. One of my sons lives in the heart of Manhattan. I’m glad Gov. Cuomo is the guy in charge in that state.