How Andrew Cuomo, New York Governor, Became the Politician of the Moment

Even on Tuesday, before the president criticized Mr. Cuomo for “complaining,” he acknowledged that he had just seen the governor’s briefing. “I watched Governor Cuomo and he was very nice,” Mr. Trump said.

The governor has a history, of course, of working with Republicans: until 2019, the New York Legislature had largely been split by virtue of the Republicans’ long hold on the State Senate, a situation which some progressive groups accused Mr. Cuomo of encouraging, as a way to thwart policies he felt were too liberal or impractical.

The governor also shares other personal touch points with Mr. Trump: They are both from Queens, have known each other for years and have followed in their fathers’ footsteps.

Mr. Cuomo’s father, who looms large in the current governor’s life, also had a moment of national prominence: the famed “Shining City on a Hill” speech in 1984, which seemed poised to propel him to higher office. It did not.

Mr. Cuomo has found a poetic, almost sentimental streak amid the dark news, appearing alongside his daughters at news conferences, and naming a new law, aimed at protecting older residents from infection, for his mother, Matilda.

On Monday, sitting with his daughter, Cara Kennedy-Cuomo, the governor said the crisis had afforded him opportunity to spend more time with her as she has volunteered to help with the state’s response, staying with him in the governor’s mansion.

“She’s going to go do her thing, but this crazy situation is crazy as it is, came with this beautiful gift,” Mr. Cuomo said. “So one door closes, another door opens. Think about that.”

Jonathan Martin contributed reporting from Washington and Maggie Haberman and Luis Ferré-Sadurní contributed reporting from New York.

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