Speed Reads

a tale of two queens boys

Trump and Cuomo's 'feud' is essentially a performance, political insiders say

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and President Trump have come to represent two sides of the coronavirus response coin. Cuomo has matched Trump's daily coronavirus task force press conferences with PowerPoints of his own, and they've both had no problem throwing shots at each others' way of handling the crisis, both on Twitter and on live TV.

But behind the scenes, the two Queens natives have a "perfectly cordial" relationship, a political veteran who has dealt with both men tells Vanity Fair. They'll get on the phone, have discussions that are "usually unremarkable in tone" — and then Trump will hop on Twitter and tell Cuomo to "stop complaining" and "get the job done," Vanity Fair describes in a profile of Cuomo.

Cuomo and Trump have known each other for around 30 years "in a high-profile New York guy kind of way," Vanity Fair describes. Their publicly polite relationship soured in 2016, but "one-on-one, it's perfectly cordial with Trump," the political veteran said. "Backstage, before the lights go on, he's a different guy."

Vanity Fair describes Trump's "potshots" at Cuomo as a simple way to "play to his red-state base." Cuomo, meanwhile, typically waits until Trump attacks first — and it's an implicitly understood, if not explicitly discussed, dichotomy. "Andrew is smart enough to say to Trump, 'Mr. President, I'm going to have to take shots at you.' And Trump will say, 'Well, I've got to do the same with you,'" a Cuomo associated told Vanity Fair. "This is a combination of realpolitik and street shit," the aide continued, and the fact that Cuomo keeps popping up Trump's preferred medium — TV — is certainly a part of it. Read more at Vanity Fair.