Come back, Governor Cuomo. The world needs you.

For over 100 days during the coronavirus pandemic, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo held press briefings every day at which he told New Yorkers, and the world, the straight facts about the violent advance of the coronavirus through the population of New York State.

He gave daily updates on the shortages of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including masks, anticipated shortages of ventilators, hospital beds and ICU beds, and the testing and contract tracing that would be necessary to deal with the advance of Covid-19 within the state.

He also explained to New Yorkers why steps needed to be taken, and the status of the efforts New York was making to meet the challenges it faced. Updated every day. Most importantly, he made New Yorkers partners in the battle against Covid-19, with great empathy.

For me, and I’m sure for millions, including national officials, governors, and mayors throughout the world, Gov. Cuomo was a reassuring model of what good and strong government leadership could be. For example, he anticipated shortages of hospital beds, and took vigorous action to ensure that more hospital beds were created.

While he, like other governors, can be faulted for a slow early response to the pandemic, Gov. Cuomo more than redeemed himself through his extraordinary leadership of New York through the worst of the crisis.

It was immensely reassuring, every day, to hear the voice of reason and to observe the actions of good governance by the state of New York, when the federal government was led by incompetent clowns who not only failed to assume the mantle of federal leadership, but actually acted to ignore or undercut the advice and guidance of the top epidemiological and medical experts in the government.

It was immensely reassuring to see, every day, that strong leadership in the person of Gov. Cuomo, who led a well-organized and effective team, existed and was operating, despite the willful incompetence of President Donald Trump and his administration. (Maureen Dowd has nailed Trump’s quintessential characteristic, in the New York Times: “willful maliciousness”).

To cite but one example of this monstrous failure of leadership by Trump and his officials, in four months the United States has not been able to produce enough N-95 masks so that there is an ample supply not only for medical personnel and first-responders, but also for every person in the country.

I was crushed to learn of Joe Biden’s precipitous announcement that he would choose a woman to be his vice-presidential candidate, because I thought there could be no better candidate than Andrew Cuomo. He could immediately be given responsibility for managing the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, once the new team assumed office. And he would make a superb president in 2024, if he could balance the ticket and his team with individuals with deep foreign policy experience.

But upon reflection, I thought further, “Why would Andrew Cuomo want to be Biden’s VP candidate?” He is doing a great job as Governor of New York, where he is uniquely qualified and needed to serve now.

So, I’ve put my hopes on hold, thinking he should run for president in 2024. Every day I watched his press briefings, and I watched every day, I wondered why America couldn’t have a president as good as he is.

Of course, there are many able leaders who could lead this country. If only they could get elected!

Unfortunately, we are only at the beginning of of the coronavirus pandemic and the Covid-19 catastrophe.

With President Trump, buffoonery and Unreason are the order of the day. We are not through this crisis yet, as the recent spikes in cases caused by the relaxation of coronavirus restrictions too soon demonstrate. Places like Houston are almost out of hospital beds, with no Gov. Cuomo leading efforts to create additional capacity.

We are not out of the woods yet.

While it is wholly understandable that Gov. Cuomo may not want to resume his daily press briefings, given the other burdens of his office, we need him to come back and do his press briefings, if not every day then at least two or three times a week.

Amid the madness and violent medical storm that rages around us, we need to hear the reassuring voice of reason, and of empathy, and of competence, and of a leader who can inspire us to believe that we can get through this.  We can, if we all work together, following reason and science, and ignoring the voices of charlatans who seek to mislead us for their own personal and political purposes.

Come back, Gov. Cuomo. The world needs you.

The Trenchant Observer

About the Author

James Rowles
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by James Rowles (aka "The Observer"), an author and international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. Dr. Rowles is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States OAS), in Wasington, D.C., , where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, Dr. Rowles has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. Dr. Rowles speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.=LL.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, Dr. Rowles has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on some the best articles that have appeared in the blog.