New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was an MSNBC superstar at the beginning of the COVID crisis, lauded by large swaths for simply communicating like a human being and having some semblance of a plan, which stood out in stark contrast to the federal government. Prolonged back-slapping convinced him to write a book about leadership in times of peril and savvy understanders of the world we live in knew deep down that there'd be another shoe to drop in the future. And it has.
Cuomo has been under the microscope for alleged mishandling of trying to conceal the full extent of nursing home-related deaths. A state assemblyman has gone on record that Cuomo threatened his career and said he could destroy him.
Morning Joe had New York City Mayor and longtime Cuomo rival Bill de Blasio on this morning and Mika Brzezinski asked about the alleged incident, wondering if de Blasio had ever heard of anything like that from the governor.
The answer was, why, yes, in fact, he had. de Blasio characterized it as "classic Andrew Cuomo" – a turn of phrase he surely took no pleasure in sharing.
Properly contextualizing the extent to which this is a media story in addition to a real-world nightmare, it will be interesting to see if cable news networks try to mine the de Blasio-Cuomo ground, which is fertile for tension and back-and-forth salvos. Left-on-left drama has stepped in to fill the vacuum Donald Trump's administration left yet it's far less interesting than what's been on television for the past five years.
Despite the best intentions, 24-hour news stations thrive when there's a reliable villain or, short of that, a polarizing figure around which to build segments and panels and differing opinions. It may be too early to suggest Cuomo is going to evolve into an outsized character, but it's certainly a possibility what with his situation potentially becoming less tenable and his familiarity with the biggest market in the nation.
If so, the de Blasio-Cuomo cold shoulder war will be an integral part. Something to keep an eye on.