Andrew Cuomo: The federal government should "own" the pandemic crisis


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

CBS News

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has made national headlines with his leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic and his daily press briefings. Now, he tells "CBS Sunday Morning" anchor Jane Pauley that the federal government should own the crisis, in an interview to be broadcast June 21.

"This was a federal crisis, a national crisis. The federal government should step in and aggressively own it, is the expression," Cuomo tells Pauley in an exclusive interview inside the Governor's mansion in Albany, N.Y. "Own it. In my state, I owned the situation."

Cuomo announced this week he would end his daily briefings, where he's provided daily COVID-19 statistics, provided guidance, scolded some for not following social distancing, and publicly addressed Washington officials. He has also met with President Donald Trump.

"They could have said, 'We're going to do it. We're one nation, we're gonna work together, and we own it,'" Cuomo says. "I think there was always a schizophrenia from the federal government. They would help when pushed to help – when, if they didn't help, it would be politically detrimental."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo with "Sunday Morning" host Jane Pauley. CBS News

Cuomo said the pandemic was a not a situation the government wanted ownership of: "This was an inconvenient situation. It was going to hurt the economy. I think there were voices that always wanted to minimize it. 'This is just the flu.' 'It's going to pass,'" Cuomo said. "And then there was a desire to reopen, reopen, reopen. … And you know where we are now? Dow Jones tumbles again. Fear of second wave. That's what happens when you reopen [and] you don't do it intelligently, you do it politically. That was the mistake."

Pauley asked Cuomo how people wearing masks became more about politics and ideology.

"What happened was the reopening became political," Cuomo replied. "It became emotional. And that was a mistake. That was a mistake."

Cuomo also talks about his life in Albany; his father, the late Mario Cuomo, a three-term Governor of New York; not being able to see his mother since the start of the pandemic; former Vice President Joe Biden's run for the White House; and dating.

"I can reopen people's homes," Cuomo says. "But, dating, that's a whole different thing beyond my control."

The Emmy Award-winning "Sunday Morning" is broadcast on CBS Sundays beginning at 9 a.m. ET. "Sunday Morning" also streams on CBSN [beginning at 9 a.m. ET] and CBS All Access, and is available on and On Demand.

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