“Imagine if you told me a few years ago,” tweeted Amy Spitalnick, a former aide to Mayor Bill de Blasio who tussled often with the governor’s operation while at City Hall, “that I’d look forward to watching a Cuomo press conference every day.”
In an interview, Ms. Spitalnick suggested that if Mr. Cuomo had not exactly changed, the circumstances had. “He’s still the guy from Queens,” she said, contrasting him with Mr. Trump, another native of the borough. “He’s being straightforward and direct about what New York needs. The other guy from Queens is not providing that.”
Some past adversaries have been less charitable, urging new converts not to be persuaded. They say that while Mr. Cuomo’s news conferences might be well calibrated, New York could have done more earlier in the month to protect its citizens, noting that officials in states like California and Ohio seemed to act more decisively at times.
While Mr. de Blasio has been faulted for mischaracterizing the threat in several past comments, Mr. Cuomo bristled at the mayor’s initial reference to a possible “shelter-in-place” order for the city about two weeks ago, arguing that panic could be “a bigger problem than the virus” if people felt trapped at home. Mr. Cuomo did direct the closing of nonessential workplaces and tell residents to stay home as much as possible.
“You’re trying to balance this,” he told reporters on Sunday, when asked why the state had not moved more quickly, adding, “I think we were one of the first to shut it down.”
Since then, activists have faulted Mr. Cuomo for not doing more to accommodate vulnerable prison populations, pushing for a wider-scale inmate release beyond a decision to remove certain parole violators from the jails.
Several Democrats have also accused Mr. Cuomo of not offering sufficient assistance to tenants, calling for the outright cancellation of rent in the near term. (Mr. Cuomo has announced an order waiving mortgage payments for three months for affected homeowners, while issuing a 90-day moratorium on evictions.)