CUOMO HAS NEVER REALLY BEEN ON TRUMP’S BAD LIST
In this corner, Donald J. Trump, aka “The Orange Bully.” And in that corner, Andrew “Street Fighter” Cuomo. Look, it really isn’t hard to figure out what’s going on. Consider the concept of good vs. evil. Let’s face it — Trump is as close to pure evil as this country has ever seen in a president. We’ve had stupid presidents and lazy presidents, but we’ve never had a president who is this fundamentally bad. He’s easily characterized as evil because he doesn’t give a damn about anyone except himself. Just look at his relations with Putin and the Russians. There is a lot of speculation about ex-KGB colonel Putin and what he could possibly have on Trump that makes the president heel like a dog on Putin’s leash. Some people believe that Trump is in the pocket of the Russians and does what is good for them. He has signaled this from the very beginning of his electoral college-won presidency. Mostly, Trump determines who is good and who is bad based on what they can do for him. That’s where his latest fight with Andrew Cuomo gets interesting.
Cuomo has never really been on Trump’s bad list. From time to time, the two men will say nasty things about each other and circle like fighters in a cage. Trump, of course, holds the greater power. Part of this is because he has the power to print money. The federal government can do this, but the states are not supposed to. Cuomo desperately needs the money from the federal government that Trump has (or can print) in order to maintain all the functions of state government. Up until now, it has been pretty obvious that no matter what Cuomo, as the leader of a state that hates the president’s guts, thinks of Trump, there is only so far that he can go in calling Trump out. If he ticks Trump off too much, his chances of getting that federally printed money are not good. While Cuomo denies that he has been pussy footing around with Trump, it seems to me that he has been doing exactly that. But now, someone has flipped the switch. The two guys from Queens are in a real street fight.
Cuomo is turning up the heat on Trump to give him the money he needs. More than that, he is calling Trump out. Maybe that’s because he is now convinced that Trump is not going to play ball. Maybe he knows that there will be a new bailout bill but perhaps without what Cuomo needs for New York. Maybe he is just laying it on Trump to make sure that the president knows that he has an opponent who can hurt him at will, especially now just months before the presidential election. Among other things, Cuomo has publicly stated that Trump would “need an army” if he returns to New York City. Some people believe that this is a not so thinly disguised suggestion that Trump would be assassinated were he to walk unprotected in New York. On the other hand, New York and some of our other cities are indeed becoming more and more dangerous to walk around in.
For his part, Trump has publicly stated that he might have to withdraw federal funding from New York. That threat would have to be taken quite seriously by Cuomo who knows that classes will be jammed in schools and that teachers and other civil servants will be laid off. So Andrew will have to make up his mind about whether to come out full force to help Joe Biden win his race or continue to play the nicey-nicey game with Trump. Cuomo, a brilliant tactician, will do the right thing and hit Trump with everything he’s got. He should, because it’s the right thing to do.
Alan Chartock is professor emeritus at the State University of New York, publisher of the Legislative Gazette and president and CEO of the WAMC Northeast Public Radio Network. Readers can email him at [email protected]