This originally appeared in The Point, the editorial board's newsletter for insiders. To subscribe, click here.
Call him the admiral.
At a morning news conference Friday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo again asked the Trump administration to exclude New York from the Interior Department’s plans to drill for oil and gas in North Atlantic waters. He also unveiled a proposed state law that would prohibit the federal government from issuing leases for fossil fuel exploration along the state’s coastline.
And he reinforced his threat of a lawsuit with a classic Cuomo bit:
“The federal government should hear my message. There is no how, no way we will ever allow offshore drilling. We’re going to advocate, we’ll pass the law, we’ll go to court.
“If that doesn’t work, we’re going to take a page out of the book of Winston Churchill and Dunkirk. What Winston Churchill did — they were all alone, England, they were isolated. Their 300,000 troops stranded on the French shoreline. The navy of the English fleet was down. He charged citizens with pleasure crafts to go across the English Channel and rescue the 300,000 stranded soldiers. Eight hundred citizen craft went across the English Channel and rescued 300,000 of the English soldiers.”
Well, did Cuomo — who has put money where his mouth is when it comes to funding for Long Island water quality — really mean it? Chief of staff Melissa DeRosa tweeted, “not kidding.”
So exactly how would the governor take to the waves with a makeshift flotilla?
Perhaps, the 57-foot yacht of his BFF Billy Joel named the Vendetta? That fits the M.O. Since Joel owns a boat building operation in Sag Harbor, he could actually outfit the entire navy.
What about brother Chris Cuomo’s center-console fishing boat that the two pilot out of the Hamptons?
We asked the press office exactly how the governor would lead the charge.
“Really?” we were asked.
As The Point badgered away, we finally got some answers.
Since the governor often jokes that his brother’s boat is too small, it wouldn’t be that one. And it turns out the governor has an outboard cruiser pleasure craft docked on Long Island.
But Greenpeace-like activism would seem to defeat Cuomo’s reason for taking to the sea.
In 2016, Beach magazine published a Q&A in which Cuomo interviewed Joel.
Cuomo: “Why do you find spending time on your boat so enjoyable?”
Joel: “I find that when I am on my boat I am — I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m just another schmuck with a boat out on the water. There is nothing particularly ‘celebrity’ about it; I become somewhat anonymous, and I find that it’s basically me and the elements, which I quite enjoy.”
Cuomo: “I understand what you mean — it is nice to be anonymous once and a while. My boat does the same for me.”