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Cuomo Rails Against Federal COVID-19 Response at DNC
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Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in a video produced for the DNC
Credit: PBS Newshour

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who’s risen to national fame in recent months through daily televised briefings on New York’s response to the coronavirus, delivered a speech to Democrats in Wisconsin Monday intended to both unite the party and condemn the federal government.

Cuomo, often rumored as a future candidate for the White House, made his case virtually for uniting the country against the pandemic and, by extension, the Trump administration.

He railed against the federal government for its sporadic response to the coronavirus, which has infected more than five million people in the country, and killed more than 170,000 — about 32,000 of which have been reported in New York.

"As they proved their way failed, we proved our way succeeded,” Cuomo said. "The failed federal government that watched New York get ambushed by their negligence, and then watched New York suffer, but then all through it, learned absolutely nothing.”

Cuomo’s remarks lasted less than seven minutes, and were pre-taped from an undisclosed location in New York.

He focused, primarily, on the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, which some have criticized as disorganized and bombastic. Cuomo railed against President Donald Trump, who he worked closely with during the peak of the disease in New York.

"We have seen in this crisis the truth, that government matters, and that leadership matters. And that it determines if we thrive and grow, or if we live and die,” Cuomo said.

He went on to throw his support behind former Vice President Joseph Biden, who he’d already told reporters he supported in the election for president.

This year’s Democratic National Convention was a moment in history that no one anticipated four years ago, when Democrats rallied in Philadelphia behind former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the nomination.

The convention was supposed to be held in Milwaukee, but was moved online out of concerns about spreading the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cuomo delivered his speech virtually from Albany, where he’s set up a sort-of home base for his operations following the end of his daily briefings in June. He’s now taken to holding briefings either in New York City, or by telephone.

Despite his rise to national fame, Cuomo has said, repeatedly, that he isn’t interested in serving in a national role in the future. He’s said several times that he doesn’t want to run for president, and said he would reject an offer to serve in a Biden administration.

In April, as Biden was clinching his party’s nomination for president, Cuomo, when asked about his political prospects by New York NOW, said he wasn’t interested in a cabinet position.

“I was a cabinet secretary 20 years ago. Been there, done that. No thank you,” Cuomo said at the time. “But I have, probably, the most important job, to me, that I could have. And probably more than ever before, frankly, given what we just went through.”

Cuomo, in some ways, mirrors the political aspirations of his father, who rose to national fame through his own speech at the Democratic National Convention in 1984. Mario Cuomo, who was in his first term at the time, ultimately decided against a run for the White House.

At the time, Andrew Cuomo was a close advisor to his father. He ended up joining former President Bill Clinton’s cabinet as secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

After Clinton left office, Cuomo ran for governor of New York in 2002, but lost the primary. He went on to win the race for New York attorney general in 2006 under former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, and then won the race for governor in 2010.

He’s now in his third term in office, and is expected to run for a fourth term in 2022. Cuomo’s already started raising money for the run, and has said on a number of occasions that he doesn’t plan to leave the job anytime soon.

If Cuomo runs, and serves out, a fourth term in office, he would be the longest-serving governor in New York’s history. Former Gov. Nelson Rockefeller was elected to a fourth term, but left office to serve as vice president under President Gerald Ford.

Watch Cuomo's full DNC speech: