In these uncertain times myself and millions of Americans have found solace in the most unlikely of places, the Governor of New York.
During the first week of sheltering in place I could not stop reading and watching the news.
There weren’t enough verified tweets or think pieces to satiate my need for Coronavirus information. Whatever was out there, whatever smart people were saying, I wanted to know.
When all of the experts said this was going to get worse before it got better, I kept looking. When they said that we were going to be in this for the long haul, I kept reading and watching.
That’s when I found my new TV dad, Gov. Cuomo.
Scrolling through YouTube a streaming live icon called out like a lighthouse in the midst of a storm.
A press conference with Gov. Andrew Cuomo of the great state of New York was being broadcast live. The video started with a static screen announcing an upcoming press briefing to start at any moment.
A few minutes later the screen faded away to reveal a wide shot of a hall with reporters safely distanced apart. Four men and a woman walked in from a side door and took their seats at the front of the room.
Having spent a total of 36 hours in the State of New York I was unaware of what exactly their Governor looked like until the camera zoomed in on a middle aged man sitting behind a name tent that read: Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Then the press conference began.
After two weeks of watching politicians preach behind their podiums who knew the most refreshing site in the world would be a PowerPoint presentation.
Armed with a clicker and a slide deck Governor Cuomo proceeded to lay out New York’s battle against the coronavirus. He worked his way through graphs, projections, quotes, and timelines while communicating as if he was talking to a neighbor or friend and not hundreds of thousands of people.
Gov. Cuomo’s direct delivery of clear information cut through the corona fog.
People didn’t want to be talked to. They just wanted to talk.
They wanted to have a conversation about what was going on, what was going to happen, and what they could do about it.
Whether he meant to or not, Gov. Cuomo quickly became the folk hero for the nation. A straight talking New Yorker who stuck to the facts and who wasn’t afraid to admit what he didn’t know.
Soon I found myself waiting for my daily hour with the Governor and spending my time in-between pressers deciding which part of the proceedings was my favorite.
Was it inevitable side tangent on the irony of medical equipment being made outside the Country?
Or when Cuomo would formally prelude a remark by emphasizing that what he was about to say was his opinion and not a scientific fact?
Or was it when the Governor always found a way to work in a mention of receiving the ire of his daughters?
In the end it all boiled down to relatability.
Governor Cuomo chose to turn his microphone and audience into a teaching lesson and not a bully pulpit.
When the conversation shifted towards ventilators he spent weeks explaining the need and the science while being the first to admit he never thought he’d spend so much time talking about ventilators.
Then when the need shifted to testing, Cuomo and his team shifted their talking points to educate on the convoluted system they were up against.
And when Andrew’s younger brother, CNN Anchor Chris Cuomo, was diagnosed with COVID-19, the pair traded friendly barbs and wished each other well during the following presser.
I had never seen or heard from Gov. Andrew Cuomo prior to the coronavirus and don’t know how much I’ll look for him when this is all behind us. Frankly I don’t even know how close our political ideologies align.
But what I do know is that for an hour a day Governor Andrew Cuomo’s press conferences offer me my moment of zen for the day.
A welcome respite during an unprecedented storm.