“Change starts with the person in the mirror.”
The ongoing rivalry has been on display throughout the coronavirus pandemic. It is political theater at its most flagrant.
The ongoing rivalry between New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and the state’s Governor Andrew Cuomo has been on full public display throughout the crises of 2020, but their rocky relationship dates back decades — going back to the nineties when they were Democratic allies before things soured in recent years.
Last week, Cuomo took aim at de Blasio and the city council’s moves to cull $1 billion from the New York Police Department amid the unrest following the death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police, conjecturing that he didn’t “know what it means.”
“Where did you take the billion dollars from? Does it mean I am more safe? Does it have any effect on police abuse? I don’t know what it means,” the governor mused at a press conference. “You know what is better? Do something. Do something. Do something… Change starts with the person in the mirror.”
The underlying swipe that the financial move heralded by the mayor does nothing but deepen the trust divide between the community and the police came just weeks after Cuomo cautioned that he had the power to “displace the mayor of New York City and bring in the National Guard, and basically take over the mayor’s job” if his colleague failed to curb the looting and destruction that sent the city into its first wave of curfews since WWII.
The bubbling mutual antagonism has been further exposed throughout the coronavirus pandemic, of which New York has been the hardest hit state in the country, so far clocking in more than 420,000 infections and over 32,000 deaths. The acrimony, often played out over press conferences, has ranged from squabbling over when to call for a shelter-in-place, to compulsory mask-wearing, to when to shutter schools and playgrounds, and who has the authority to call the shots.