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All eyes on Andrew Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a press briefing

Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a press briefing on Monday, April 13, 2020.

Daily Point

Governor Cuomo takes center stage

It’s been quite a long, strange trip for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo who, while leading the state through the coronavirus crisis, has found himself on a national stage, as his daily news conferences are covered live by cable networks. On Monday, his star turn put him on the cover of Rolling Stone and on Howard Stern’s radio show. His new roles have included being the subject of a Randy Rainbow parody called “Andy” – to the tune of “Sandy” from “Grease.”

Then there are the videos that have gone viral, particularly “NY Tough,” a black-and-white montage of city scenes that uses sound of Cuomo’s briefing clips that garnered more than 1.5 million views via Twitter. The video was produced by Peter Maiden, who heads Convicts NYC, a Brooklyn outfit that counts among its clients the popular Surf Lodge in Montauk. According to published reports, the company has since been asked by the governor’s office to produce some additional inspirational videos pro-bono.

Cuomo’s appearance on Stern’s show Monday morning was a particularly fascinating moment as Stern, who once briefly ran for governor against Mario Cuomo, called Andrew Cuomo’s leadership a “turn on,” and said the governor was the “sexiest man in America.” 

The pair, along with Stern sidekick Robin Quivers, talked about everything from “Tiger King” (Cuomo has watched some of it) to whether the governor drinks alcohol during the crisis (“Not a drop since this started,” said Cuomo).

On top of this, Cuomo commanded the cable news channels, first with his popular daily briefing and then with a reprise later in the afternoon as he hosted a talk show of his own with five other governors in the northeast. 

So what’s next for the newest celebrity governor? Imagine Cuomo as guest host on the at-home version of “Saturday Night Live.”

—Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall

Talking Point

Trump’s coronavirus counterprogramming

While the coronavirus continues to sweep the nation, President Donald Trump’s campaign Facebook ads are focused on other matters. 

That includes socialism, the border wall, “Corrupt politicians like Joe Biden, Adam Schiff, and Nancy Pelosi,” the contention that the former vice president is no different from “radical socialist Bernie Sanders,” and Easter. 

“Treat some bunny special to some OFFICIAL Trump merchandise with our 20% off discount with code Easter20,” says one recent ad visible in the social media giant’s political ad archive. 

The Trump campaign has often used its mighty war chest to blanket America’s screens with counterprogramming to the nightly news, be it impeachment or the Democratic primary. The tactic seems to be continuing today. Despite a global pandemic, which has millions of Americans checking death numbers and the latest scientific guidance through media sources, Trump’s ads are full enemy-of-the-people rhetoric: “The mainstream media have never been more dishonest than they are today.”

Then there’s the wide universe of items for sale promoted in the Facebook ads: Space Force hats and Trump-Pence 2020 playing cards and hoodies. A campaign-themed pet collar could set you back $15. 

At a time when politicians on both sides of the aisle have been calling for national unity and putting aside partisanship, the Trump campaign has also been using Facebook ads to promote more provocative items, like onesies with the following inscriptions: “BABY LIVES MATTER,” and “I CRY LESS THAN A DEMOCRAT.”

—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Pencil Point

Monopoly: 2020 edition

For more cartoons, visit www.newsday.com/cartoons

Quick Points

  • The Kansas Supreme Court struck down an attempt by Republican lawmakers to allow in-person religious services to continue after Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly banned them because of the coronavirus pandemic. One inkling the GOP should have had that the ruling would not go its way: The court hearing was conducted via Zoom.
  • President Donald Trump says it would be “dangerous” to extend mail voting to people under 65. Because, as we all know, for most seniors “danger” is their middle name.
  • After a botched response to Hurricane Andrew in 1992, FEMA became a cabinet-level department. After 9/11, the Department of Homeland Security was created. Anyone for a Department of Infectious Diseases?
  • As the coronavirus continues to take cars off the roads, a team of three drivers took advantage and broke the record for the vaunted Cannonball Run from New York to Los Angeles, finishing the trip in 26 hours, 38 minutes. During that time span, more than 1,200 Americans died from the virus. Moral of the story: Some opportunities just should not be seized.
  • When British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was released from the hospital after his battle with the coronavirus, he profusely thanked the health professionals who worked tireless to save him, calling their care “brilliant.” If only Johnson had been brilliant in handling the epidemic as it engulfed Britain.
  • Farmers are destroying millions of pounds of produce and thousands of gallons of milk they cannot sell. Food banks and other charities overwhelmed by demand cannot absorb more food with limited volunteers and refrigerators. The coronavirus ravages the math of feeding the hungry, too.
  • President Donald Trump had a busy Sunday.
    • He attacked FoxNews host Chris Wallace after Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security director Tom Inglesby said on Wallace’s show that the United States would “be in a much better position” if Trump had acted more quickly on COVID-19.

    • He retweeted a supporter’s call to fire Dr. Anthony Fauci after the nation’s top infectious disease expert said a quick response “could have saved lives.”

    • He attacked The New York Times for a detailed piece about his early mistakes with the virus. 

    • Why? Because all of them are wrong and he alone is right.

  • How good does Amazon’s decision to go into groceries look now?
  • The leadership of the American Federation of Musicians refused to allow the re-airing of “Celebrating 25 Magical Years of Disney on Broadway,” recorded on Nov. 4, as an online fundraiser for theater actors, musicians and others affected by the coronavirus because the musicians in the production would not be paid. Talk about being tone deaf, off-key and out of tune.

—Michael Dobie @mwdobie

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