Cuomo began his speech with a history of New York's battle with the virus, calling the state "ground zero for the COVID crisis" before getting it under control.
"[We] have gone from one of the highest infection rates in the globe to one of the lowest. We climbed the impossible mountain, and right now, we are on the other side," he said. "We did it with the kindness and assistance of so many. New Yorkers want to thank everyone who came to our aid -- 30,000 Americans who volunteered to come here to help in our hour of need. Your love gave us the strength to carry on. We went through hell, but we've learned much."
"We know that our problems go beyond the COVID virus. COVID is the symptom, not the illness. Our nation is in crisis, and in many ways, COVID is just a metaphor," he continued. "A virus attacks when the body is weak and when it cannot defend itself. Over these past few years, America's body politics has been weakened. The divisions have been growing weaker -- the anti-Semitism, the anti-Latino, the anti-immigrant fervor, the racism in Charlottesville, where the KKK didn't even bother to wear their hoods, and in Minnesota, where the life was squeezed from Mr. Floyd. Only a strong body can fight off the virus, and America's divisions weakened it."
Cuomo went on, stating that President Donald Trump "didn't create the initial division." "The division created Trump. He only made it worse," he claimed. "Our collective strength is exercised through government. It is, in fact, our immune system. And our current government is dysfunctional and incompetent. It couldn't fight off the virus... We saw the failure of a government that tried to deny the virus, then tried to ignore it, and then tried to politicize it. The failed federal government that watched New York get ambushed by their negligence, and then watched New York suffer, but all through it learned absolutely nothing."
Six months later, Cuomo says America is "still unprepared," but now faces a different threat -- negligence.
"Today, we trail the world in defeating COVID. We have over 5 million cases. Americans learned a critical lesson -- how vulnerable we are when we are divided, and how many lives can be lost when our government is incompetent. But we learned something else, my friends. We saw the negative, but we also saw the positive. As they proved their way failed, we proved that our way succeeded, that America can still rise to the occasion," he offered. "We can put our differences aside and find commonality. Government can tell the truth and build trust. ... We can care for one another, that Americans can work together and forge community and a competent government. That of course we will wear masks, because we are smart, and because I care about you and you care about me."
"Of course we will socially distance, because staying away shows how close we actually are. Yes, we will set up testing and tracing and do whatever we need to do to mobilize to win this battle, because we are America. We win wars, and we are the greatest country on the globe. And for all the pain and all the tears, our way worked. And it was beautiful," Cuomo said. "We showed that our better angels are strong, and that Americans will rise to their call. We saw that, even at the end of the day, even if it is a long day, love wins. Americans' eyes have been opened, and we have seen in this crisis the truth -- that government matters and leadership matters, and it determines whether we thrive and grow, or whether we live and die."
Cuomo concluded his speech by saying, "We need a leader as good as our people." I know that man. I've worked with that man... that man is Joe Biden," he insisted. "Joe Biden is what I call America-tough, tough in the best way. Tough that is smart, united, disciplined and loving. Joe Biden can restore the soul of America. And that's exactly what our country needs today."
Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, spoke at the DNC just moments before Cuomo delivered his address to facilitate a conversation on the country's need for racial justice.
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