Andrew Cuomo: New York governor rules out running for president

Donald Trump has tried to take credit for governor's soaring popularity

Andrew Naughtie
Tuesday 31 March 2020 14:27
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Andrew Cuomo tells brother he won't run for president

New York City mayor Andrew Cuomo has become one of the most looked-to leaders in the US during the coronavirus pandemic, and as he guides his state through the worst Covid-19 outbreak in the country, his approval ratings as governor are surging: nearly nine out of ten New Yorkers approve of his handling of the crisis.

This has drawn the attention of Donald Trump, who is now taking credit for Mr Cuomo’s numbers based on his own decision to send medical aid to the city. As he put it: “One of the reasons why he’s successful is because we’ve helped make him successful.”

But if Mr Trump views Mr Cuomo as a growing political threat, he can now rest easy in the knowledge that no matter how popular he becomes, the New York governor does not have his sights set on the White House.

Asked by his brother Chris, a CNN host, whether he would run for president, Mr Cuomo left no room for ambiguity.

“With all this adulation that you’re getting for doing your job,” asked his brother, “are you thinking about running for president? Tell the audience.”

“No. No.”

“No you won’t answer?”

“No, I answered. The answer is no.”

“No you’re not thinking about it?”

“I answered the question. Sometimes it’s one word. I said no.”

The exchange continued in the same monosyllabic mode.

“Have you thought about it?”

“No.”

“Are you open to thinking about it?”

“No.”

“Might you think about it at some point?”

“No.”

Perhaps trying to gently trip his brother up, Chris Cuomo put it a different way: “How can you know what you might think about at some point right now?” It did not work.

“Because I know what I might think about, and what I won’t think about. But you’re a great interviewer, by the way.”

Mr Cuomo’s uncompromisingly blunt dismissal of the idea he might run comes close to what’s sometimes called a “Sherman denial”, in which the speaker declines to run for president in the strongest possible terms. The term refers to Civil War general William Tecumseh Sherman, who, when asked about perhaps running, is supposed to have answered: “If drafted, I will not run. If nominated, I will not accept. If elected, I will not serve.”

The Cuomos’ father Mario, also a governor of New York, came close to running for president in both the 1988 and 1992 elections. On the second occasion, he spent weeks behaving like a potential candidate before announcing that New York’s severe fiscal problems meant he could not justify turning his attention to a national campaign.

The senior Cuomo is still remembered as a Democratic icon, and his 1984 convention speech is remembered as one of the best of its time.

His sons have indulged in on-air sibling badinage more than once during the coronavirus crisis, particularly in once exchange where they batted each other back and forth over who was their mother’s favourite.

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