The Cuomo brothers are at it again.
Chris Cuomo invited his brother, New York governor Andrew Cuomo, back on CNN's Cuomo Prime Time tonight—and as per usual, it was spectacular. The pair discussed the latest updates in the fight against the coronavirus crisis, but that didn't stop them from taking yet another round of personal jabs at each other.
In yet another of the pair’s part-serious, part-jokey interviews — which have raised legitimate media ethics questions — the CNN host began by asking his elder sibling about what motivated the timing of his state’s response to the pandemic. The New York governor took it as an opportunity to boast.
“You’re not going to be able to find a state in the United States of America that moved faster than New York state,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo claimed, before hitting back at unnamed critics. “We had our first case, 15 days later, I closed the schools. Nobody had called for that. Nineteen days later, I closed down the state. When you close down New York, you close down one of the economic engines on this globe. And no state did that faster than we did it. As a matter of fact, I took a lot of heat for moving as fast as I did. Now they want to say: ‘Oh, governor, maybe you did too many — you were too prepared, maybe you didn’t need to do everything you did. ‘ You know, they’re going to do that game all day long. But look, I react to numbers and data and science. We are looking at projections and models, by experts who who analyze this data. And I follow the data, right? This is not about what I think politically or what I think because I think really I’m a doctor. I just follow the data. And that’s what we did.”
“I will buy you lunch for every time that you can show one piece that showed you were ‘too prepared’ for the pandemic, OK?” the CNN host said, clearly not buying into his brother’s my-greatest-weakness-is-I-work-too-hard humblebrag. “Any piece you can show me that says ‘Cuomo, you were too prepared for this pandemic! You did too much, too soon!’ I don’t think you’ll find any pieces saying that.”
“What is the wager?”
“Whatever you want,” little brother Cuomo shot back, rolling his eyes. “That you were ‘too prepared?’ You did too much, too fast?”
“Yes,” CNN’s Cuomo confirmed.
“That, compared to the projections, that the actuality never came to the projection…” Gov. Cuomo then said, completely restating his previous claim.
“I’ll give you any context you want,” CNN’s Cuomo responded in the cross-talk, before recognizing that this brother had deflected away from his dubious claim and was back to being serious. “Well, look, that’s a separate question I think you got to prepare more than the actual numbers, I hope you’re right about that.”
Here are some of the best moments, from start to finish:
On Andrew's Chattiness:
Chris: I'm just smiling because in the control room they just said, 'You have like three minutes left.' My brother takes five minutes to say hello, you think I'm gonna be done with this interview in three minutes? Who's got the fever tonight? The control room's got the fever.
Andrew: I have a zoom seder that I have to get to.
C: I'm sure we all do. Well, actually I didn't get invited to any. No surprise.
On Andrew Being Called the "Love Gov":
A: I've always been a soft guy. I am the love gov. I'm a cool dude with a loose mood. You know that. I just say let it go. Just go with the flow, baby.
C: You've never said any of those things.
A: You can't control anything so don't even try. Just water off a duck's back.
C: That's the first time you've said any of those things... I've known you my whole life.
A: Well, that's your opinion. You should listen to me better. Listening works.
On Andrew's Presidential Aspirations:
C: Are you now giving different consideration to running for president [after Bernie Sanders concluded his campaign]?
A: No. But it was a good question.
C: It's definitely a good question.
A: I am thinking. I'm a thinking being. I'm thinking about a lot of things.
C: I bet.
On Which Brother Is Really Staying Home for Their Mother:
C: Who are you staying home for? Because I'm staying home for my mom.
A: The whole campaign is dedicated to my mother, and I said that first thing this morning when I posted my picture.
C: Oh, you're staying home for your mom, too? Isn't it weird though after I just said it?
A: No, I went first. I had my press conference doing it for my mother... I had my picture this morning, while you were still sleeping, and I showed it at my press conference.
C: I'm staying home for these two guys in the front. You know why? Do you see the picture?
A: I can't see it.
C: Oh, you can see it.
A: I can't see it. Bye, Chris.
C: No, no, no. Don't you do it. Put the microphone back on. Don't be like that.
A: Take that picture down. Take the picture down!
C: Put it back up. There he is! Here's why I'm doing it for these guys. This is the guy who helped me shape who I am today. Look how lovingly I was looking at him back then. I know it looks like I'm just staring at his diamond encrusted belt buckle, but I'm not. I'm actually staring at the young man who made me so proud as his brother back then and now.
A: There are no words. Three minutes is up.
C: I love you very much. Thank you for coming on this show, thank you for keeping my spirits up and thank you for what you're doing for this state.
A: Oh, I'd like to say it was my pleasure, but it wasn't.
Since announcing his COVID-19 positive diagnosis early last week, Cuomo has continued to anchor Cuomo Prime Time from the basement of his home where he is quarantined. He first addressed his condition last Tuesday night.
In the past eight days, Cuomo has been issuing regular updates on his health to the public. On Friday, he revealed that his COVID-19 fever was so bad that he hallucinated seeing his deceased father, former New York Governor Mario Cuomo. "I was up all night, I'm telling you, I was hallucinating," he said. "My dad was talking to me. I was seeing people from college, people I hadn't seen in forever. It was freaky, what I went through last night. And it may happen again tonight."
On Wednesday evening, more than 430,000 individuals had tested positive for coronavirus in the U.S., with over 14,700 deaths and 23,800 recoveries.