New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Dr. Anthony Fauci engaged in some lighthearted banter comparing themselves to Hollywood actors typecast as mafia thugs while discussing their plot to convince more New Yorkers to receive the coronavirus vaccine.
During his Monday press briefing, Gov. Cuomo praised Dr. Fauci, telling the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, “I think your voice saying that the vaccines are safe would be important.”
“Maybe … we’ll do an ad telling New Yorkers it’s safe to take the vaccine,” Cuomo went on. “Put us together. We’re like the modern-day De Niro and Pacino. You can be whichever you want. You can be the De Niro or Pacino. Fauci and Cuomo. Who do you want to be?”
‘We’re like the modern day De Niro and Pacino. You can be whichever you want.’ — Gov. Cuomo suggests he and Dr. Fauci appear in an ad together promoting the COVID-19 vaccine pic.twitter.com/xRMTB5GBpk
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) December 7, 2020
“I love them both. I don’t want to hurt the feelings of the other,” Fauci said, to which Cuomo jokingly replied, “Who’s the politician?”
The governor’s attempt at humor follows his more serious expression of worry that polls indicate a high percentage of New York minorities are reluctant to accept what is perceived as a rushed and insufficiently tested vaccine. Convincing the state’s Black and Latino community, Cuomo added, takes “outreach” and an “affirmative effort.”
Fauci stated during the briefing that the goal will be to vaccinate at least 75% to 80% of the population for an “umbrella of protection over the community.”
“When most of the people are protected, the virus has a hard time latching on to someone,” he added.
When asked for a prediction by Cuomo, Fauci said he expects the average “man and woman in the street who is well, with no underlying conditions” to start getting vaccinated in early April.
It appears Cuomo made his unsettling comparison of himself and Fauci to Robert De Niro and Al Pacino without considering past controversy in which his younger brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, exploded and threatened to throw a man down a flight of stairs after he called him “Fredo,” a reference to the good-for-nothing brother of Pacino’s character in The Godfather films.
His younger brother’s sensitivity to being called “Fredo” aside, does it bother anyone else that two very powerful men looking to impose a vaccine on as many citizens as possible are comparing themselves to actors known for their merciless criminal characters?
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