Just a few months ago, Andrew Cuomo was being applauded for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic across the state of New York. Today, amid growing calls for his resignation in light of a sexual misconduct scandal, he is making headlines for all the wrong reasons. But in his book, The Prince: Andrew Cuomo, Coronavirus, and the Fall of New York, Ross Barkin writes that Cuomo’s pandemic response was all wrong.
Governor Andrew Cuomo, scion of Mario Cuomo, is today as famous as his father, also a governor of New York state for three terms. Like Robert Moses, he is one of New York’s great and infamous power brokers. Though initially lavishly celebrated for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, not least by himself, it is now apparent that Cuomo’s management of the crisis was a juddering and fatal failure. Thousands died because, ignoring the advice of experts, he shut down too late and returned still sick patients to nursing homes. The crisis was intensified by his previous commitment to austerity, which saw the slashing of funding to hospitals. A vital riposte to Cuomo’s recently published book about the pandemic, now increasingly derided as self-serving and deceitful, The Prince is a searing indictment of Cuomo’s handling of coronavirus and his time overall in the highest office of the state.
Ross Barkan teaches journalism at NYU and St. Joseph’s College, Brooklyn. He writes regularly for The Guardian and Jacobin, and has contributed to The New York Times, The New Yorker and New York Magazine. Working as a City Hall reporter, he has written frequently on New York state politics, covering Cuomo for the last eight years.
The Prince: Andrew Cuomo, Coronavirus, and the Fall of New York is available now.