March 20, 2020

PUTTING OUR DIFFERENCES ASIDE TO UNITE AGAINST A COMMON ENEMY IS THE AMERICAN WAY: New best friends: Trump and archfoes Cuomo and Newsom bond in coronavirus crisis.

At every press conference — and all three leaders are doing daily COVID-19 press updates — praise is bestowed and compliments showered. There are gratuitous namechecks — as with the lover who feels compelled just to repeat the name of the beloved — and many allusions to late night phone calls when details of policy are apparently being hashed out.

In his press conference yesterday, for instance, as Trump detailed the FDA’s expedited approval of a new virus treatment, he managed to work in the news that he’d spoken with Cuomo “at great, great length last night; he wants to be first in line.”

Considering that he and the governor are now besties, Cuomo will probably in fact be first in line to get the prescription drug to his state’s consumers — just as he’s recently gotten everything on his virus wish list, from a national guard deployment to Westchester County, site of an early hot spot, to a mobile testing drive-through, also for Westchester, to an Army Corps of Engineers deployment, to a Navy hospital ship which will soon be docked in New York Harbor in case New York City runs out of hospital beds. . . .

Gavin Newsom has got the love bug too. President Trump does not namecheck Gavin Newsom as much as he does Cuomo, but Newsom — who has excoriated “the corruption and the incompetence in the White House,” has claimed to be “absolutely humiliated” by Trump’s stance on climate policy, and has proudly proclaimed California the “most unTrump” state in the US — is now crowing about the “privilege” of a recent conversation in which the president promised his state more COVID-19 testing swabs.

“The president assured me, not only assured me, he was aware of where those swabs are being procured before I even offered my own insight,” Newsom burbled. “Not only is he on top of it, but they’re securing and beginning the process of distributing those swabs.”

New Yorkers, as some will recall, experienced the “best of human nature” phenomenon for a few weeks after 9/11. For a few golden weeks passersby on the street made full eye contact and wreathed each other in beatific smiles; they deferred, nay argued, about who should go through a door first. They stopped their cars for bicyclists. By December they’d resumed their self-centered ways.

Enjoy it while it lasts.


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