It’s not that I always thought Andrew Cuomo was right, but even when he wasn’t, I never doubted that his decision-making was educated, informed, rigorous, thoughtful, even jesuitical at times. Yes, he’s a political animal, but that’s not all or even most of who he is, and in many significant ways he reminds me of his father, a previous New York governor, an almost presidential candidate, and a man I deeply admired.
But I wasn’t a big Chris Cuomo fan until I watched him on the same split screen with his brother. The resemblance between them is striking, not only visually — if Chris ever wonders how he’ll look in 15 years, the image is in front of him — but also in their shared experience of growing up with one’s hero in the house – Mario in Andrew’s, Andrew in Chris’s.
The dynamic between them fascinates me, the differences as well as the similarities, the knowledge of each other’s strengths and weaknesses and the way that resonates in their interchanges. While the Guv is direct, declaratory and dead serious in his daily press conference from Albany, his nightly exchanges with his younger brother on location from the home office in New York where Chris has been reporting ever since he was struck with Covid-19 are a whole ‘nother thing, which I’m sure SNL will parody when the show gets back on the air.
The relationship of the brothers is priceless, authentic and moving – the jibes about who loves Mom more, Chris’ s irrepressible grin, the Guv’s skillful deflection of a question about his political future with a deadpan response about how he was sort of a go-with-the-flow let-it-happen-or-not kind of guy, which prompted a double take on the other side of the screen as Chris hastened to assure his viewers that the Guv was putting them on.
Pressed again by Cuomo the Younger, the Guv checkmated him deftly; he’s a politician, even when it’s his brother asking.
In these days of grim news delivered in mostly somber and sober tones, the relationship between these two men is the is the most authentic one on television. Aaron Sorkin might have scripted it.