Those of us who considered President Trump’s first year in office both maddening and exhausting by the end of Year 2 were looking back wistfully at 2017, which now seems like two weeks in the country by comparison. To paraphrase an old friend of ours, on a crazyness scale of 1 to 10, Mr. Trump was a solid 17 in 2018, as developments ranging from the Democrats regaining a majority in the House of Representatives to Bob Mueller closing in on Mr. Trump with each new indictment brought the President closer to finally being held accountable.
It’s not that our local leaders were spending all, or even much, of their time doing us proud over the past year. Governor Cuomo in December had one of those weeks he probably never anticipated. First a Federal Judge indirectly implicated him in the Buffalo Billion ripoff while chastising his onetime economic guru whom he had proclaimed “New York’s secret weapon” for rigging the bidding process to favor contractors who were big contributors to the Governor because he wanted to suck up to him. Then it was disclosed that the State Attorney General was investigating why steel bolts used in the construction of a bridge named in memory of Mr. Cuomo’s father, Mario, fractured during the construction process.
He also endured continuing criticism for the problems plaguing the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, foremost among them frequent service delays.
Endeared Himself to Unions
On the positive side, the Governor continued to atone for the bad will he earned from public-employee unions during his first two years in office, particularly by pushing through a law in April that shielded them from the harshest effects of the subsequent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court nullifying its 1977 ruling that those unions were entitled to a form of dues known here as agency fees from nonmembers who took advantage of the services of those organizations in areas ranging from contract improvements to legal representation. Under the law he enacted, those who opted not to pay union dues would no longer be entitled to free representation in disciplinary hearings and grievances.
And, alongside Mayor de Blasio’s recurring Housing Authority woes and his dissembling about them, Mr. Cuomo seemed competent, transparent and honest.
Mr. de Blasio began the year insisting problems at the HA were being greatly exaggerated, particularly by a Daily News reporter with “an axe to grind,” and that his appointee to chair the agency, Shola Olatoye, was “part of the solution,” rather than an obstacle to solving its problems. By May, Ms. Olatoye had been forced to resign amid continuing revelations of mismanagement and lying. By mid-summer, the Mayor’s Health Commissioner was stepping down, with one possible reason being the damage done to her reputation when it was revealed that she used a higher standard than the Federal Government did for determining that children living in HA developments had been adversely affected by exposure to lead paint, which had the effect of reducing the number that the city reported had been potentially harmed.
In mid-October, Mr. de Blasio justified having undercounted the number of children affected by exposure by claiming there was “no single standard” for lead contamination, and so he had opted to go with the one that was least likely to make him a target for tabloid condemnation. Word was that the Daily News reporter, Greg Smith, whose diligent reporting of the problems at the HA had borne out that the “axe” the Mayor had accused him of wielding had been right on target, was not skipping any meals waiting for an apology from Mr. de Blasio.
The HA problems didn’t fade with time: by the end of the year, a Federal Judge had rejected an agreement between the Mayor’s Office and the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan aimed at making wholesale corrections of its health hazards because he lacked confidence that the city would do the appropriate follow-through work, and U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson was threatening to place the nation’s largest housing authority under receivership.
In that context, testimony by Jona Rechnitz during a police-corruption trial that consumed the final two months of the year about his attempts to buy influence with campaign contributions to Mr. de Blasio seemed like comic relief. But the uncovering of new emails pertaining to that testimony which the Mayor had failed to turn over to reporters under a court order further soured his relationship with the news media while putting another few nails in his credibility.
Two Positive Contracts
On the plus side of the ledger, he could point to significant labor agreements with District Council 37 and the United Federation of Teachers that, in addition to modest wage increases, included a number of quality-of-work-life improvements, ranging from giving Teachers greater say in their classrooms and more help when it was needed to paid parental leave for all UFT members and a family-leave benefit for those belonging to DC 37.
The economic terms of those contracts appeared likely to serve as a template for the rest of the city unions, with one notable exception. That was the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, which for the second time in five years flatly rejected the deals reached by the two largest civilian-employee unions as inadequate at a time when its members continued to lose ground financially to cops working in close proximity to them. The union periodically would picket the Mayor: at a Queens school where he was speaking, at the Park Slope YMCA where he ventured each morning from Gracie Mansion for his workout before circling back to City Hall, and at out-of-town locales where Mr. de Blasio was preaching the progressive gospel to convince his listeners that he was not a progressive when it came to treatment of his own employees.
The year had plenty of other developments in which the connections of Mr. Trump, Mr. Cuomo and Mr. de Blasio were involved but less-central, if not “marginal,” to use the President’s word when trying to convince a 7-year-old girl on Christmas Day that Santa Claus was just Fake News.
Turkey With Russian Dressing
There was Mr. Trump’s meeting in July with Vladimir Putin and the press conference in which he stunned the world, and America’s intelligence agencies in particular, by saying that while they were unanimous that Russia had played a major role in trying to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, Mr. Putin’s “extremely strong and powerful denials” were also compelling.
That was bookended by the Christmas Day announcement that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, whose conversation with the President a week earlier persuaded him to withdraw American troops from Syria—leading to the resignation of U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis—planned to meet with Mr. Putin to discuss the impact of the U.S. pullout.
Mr. Trump’s shaky stewardship led ex-Mayor Michael Bloomberg—who offered a blistering critique of him as a “con man” during the 2016 Democratic National Convention and reportedly spent more than $100 million helping Democrats in the midterm elections—to say he was considering a run for the White House in 2020. This prompted speculation that Mr. Bloomberg, who would be expected to self-fund his campaign, would spend $1 billion, although his three campaigns for Mayor proved he could routinely exceed his own estimates.
In a year in which two books offering an inside look at the Trump White House—one a gossipy account by Michael Wolff and the other a more closely-reported account by Bob Woodward—became huge best-sellers, one oddity that also proved the national fascination with Mr. Trump was that two individuals he vanquished, Hillary Clinton and former FBI Director James Comey, each published memoirs that became best-sellers in spite of questions about their judgment that grew out of their dealings with The Trumpster.
And the President’s angry defense of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was seen as a turning point in Mr. Kavanaugh gaining confirmation after he lashed out not at the woman accusing him of sexual assault when they were both teenagers but at Democratic lawmakers he claimed were trying to drag his reputation through the mud.
Cuomo Gets Spattered
Mr. Cuomo got himself dirtied up by the trial of his former top aide, Joseph Percoco, which while focused on bribes the former Secretary to the Governor received from people with business before the state also brought forth evidence that, while on leave to manage his boss’s 2014 re-election campaign, he was a constant presence in a state office—in violation of the law—that adjoined Mr. Cuomo’s. Testimony that Mr. Percoco, acting at the Governor’s behest, had tried to prevent valued aides from leaving state government to pursue other opportunities also didn’t do much to polish Mr. Cuomo’s image as an enlightened executive.
Nor did it reflect well on him that the two legislative leaders who combined with him to comprise Albany’s “Three Men in a Room” for more than half his tenure in office—ex-Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and former Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver—were each convicted of corruption charges for the second time after earlier convictions were thrown out because of a new Supreme Court interpretation as to what constituted a public official selling his office.
Mr. Cuomo had the good fortune to be opposed in the Democratic primary by Cynthia Nixon, a formidable actress who, despite years as a school activist, had difficulty playing a credible politician. After antagonizing Transport Workers Union Local 100—which almost certainly would have supported the Governor regardless of her campaign platform—by implying it was one of the unions whose intransigence was preventing significant improvements in the transit system, she tried to make amends by pledging that if elected she would eliminate the Taylor Law penalties for illegal strikes by public workers. While Local 100 has historically been the union most likely to walk off the job, this didn’t help her with its members, and it stamped her as impractical in the eyes of both political professionals and voters, leading to her being handily defeated in the September primary.
The Governor then tied his Republican general-election opponent, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, to the President, calling him a “Trump mini-me,” although Mr. Molinaro disagreed with a number of political positions taken by the leader of the GOP and took himself far less seriously. During a late-summer campaign appearance at City Hall, he remarked about Mr. Cuomo’s campaign tactics, “He’s like some crazed Wizard of Oz: pay no attention to the [state] corruption; we’re talking about President Trump.”
It did him little good beyond leaving a favorable impression for a future run for office. With huge edges in name recognition, campaign cash and labor support to get out the vote on Election Day, Mr. Cuomo defeated Mr. Molinaro by 22 points.
Trial by Proxy
Mr. de Blasio found himself a side issue in two different trials at which Mr. Rechnitz’s testimony veered into their relationship that began with his first run for Mayor in 2013: one involving the conviction of former Correction Officers Benevolent Association President Norman Seabrook, the other with the witness’s former business partner, Jeremy Reichberg, and ex-NYPD Deputy Inspector James Grant as the defendants. The invocation of former NYPD Chief of Department Philip Banks III in the latter trial also offered an unpleasant reminder to the Mayor: while he had been a holdover from the Bloomberg administration, Mr. de Blasio had seriously considered him for Police Commissioner before giving the job to Bill Bratton, and when Mr. Rechnitz pressed him on the issue in an email, he responded that Mr. Banks had “a bright future.”
While Mr. Banks wasn’t criminally charged in his dealings with Mr. Rechnitz and Mr. Reichberg, he was the beneficiary of their generosity to a greater degree than two cops—including Inspector Grant—who were.
And the Mayor’s attempt to bring reforms to the city jail system suffered a setback in early fall when, to bring the city into compliance with the Raise the Age law signed by Mr. Cuomo earlier in the year, he moved 16- and 17-year-old inmates off Rikers island and into the Horizon Juvenile Center in The Bronx despite protests by both the correction unions and the social-service employees union that represented counselors at the juvenile center that insufficient preparations had been made for the transfer. The shift resulted in dozens of fights in which officers and residents at Horizon were injured during the first couple of weeks of October.
In a year in which women—partly due to strong reaction against Mr. Trump’s behavior—ran for office in record numbers and scored major successes throughout the nation, the most-remarkable story was written by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who made the jump from bartender/democratic socialist to Congresswoman-elect/media star with a stunning upset of Joe Crowley, a Queens representative who seemed in line to become House Speaker in the not-too-distant future until he forgot to take care of business in his district.
Some Rookie Mistakes
The spotlight thrust on Ms. Ocasio-Cortez exposed her lack of sophistication about some aspects of the political world: one account in Politico had her taking aim at Brooklyn Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, who had moved up in the Democratic hierarchy because of Mr. Crowley’s defeat, and was viewed as one of the smart younger representatives who also was wise in the ways of party politics. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez denied the report; valid or not, it offered a lesson in the risks of moving too quickly before you’ve even established yourself.
So now, before we go forth with our Bound to Be Wrong Predictions for 2019, let’s pay tribute to those who deserve recognition for their activities over the past year:
The Don’t Call Me Ahab Award goes to PBA President Pat Lynch, who while pursuing the Mayor with the same grim tenacity as Herman Melville’s obsessed Captain brought to his chase for the Great White Whale, had a method behind his decision to file for arbitration, then hold the proceedings up with a lawsuit seeking the removal of Labor Commissioner Bob Linn as the city’s representative on the panel, all the while prodding Mr. de Blasio to get back to bargaining: if you can’t get the contract you were promising in time for your next election, make sure to let your members know who’s to blame.
The Between a Rock and a Hard Place Award goes to Mayor de Blasio for the dilemma he is about to confront. After insisting for more than two years that he’d like to change the provision of the civil-service law that his administration abruptly discovered barred it from releasing to the media the disposition of police-disciplinary cases, a Democratic-controlled State Senate makes repeal of that provision a possibility, which if he pushed for it would further alienate the PBA.
The Bill de Blasio Wakeup Call Award goes to new State Attorney General Letitia James, who like the Mayor before her is leaving a job in which the primary role was literally to be the Public Advocate to take on one in which there are major responsibilities for which the occupant will be held accountable.
The Road Not Taken
The I Coulda Been a Contender Award goes to Eva Moskowitz, who briefly considered giving up her job running the Success Academy charter-school network to challenge Mr. de Blasio’s re-election in 2017 but then backed away, and has to be thinking she could’ve done a better job if she’d made the uphill run and defeated him.
The He IS Heavy and He AIN’T My Brother Award goes to Governor Cuomo, who following the conviction of Joe Percoco, whom he once described as his father’s “third son,” distanced himself from his former top aide in a manner not seen since Rudy Giuliani disowned Bernie Kerik after his former Police Commissioner was convicted on corruption charges.
The Watching Michael Cohen Means I Can Find It in My Heart to Forgive Bernie Kerik Award to Rudy Giuliani, who has gained a greater appreciation of the virtues of a close aide who embraces the penal experience rather than looking to trade up to avoid prison time.
The Sidney Falco Award goes to Michael Cohen, who discovered that the sweet smell of success turns rancid in a hurry when the cops have got the goods on you for doing your patron’s “dirty deeds.”
The Yeah I’m Bipolar But I’m Not THAT Crazy Award goes to Kanye West, whose unlikely bromance with President Trump seems to have been cured by the clarity produced by medication.
The Chris Russo Award goes to former Defense Secretary James Mattis, who finally realized there was room for only one Mad Dog in the Trump Administration.
The If Robert Mueller Winds Up on Mount Rushmore, That Conflicted Loser Better Remember He Owes It All to Me Award goes to President Trump, who’s spent the past four years reminding us why American values should be cherished.
Bound Not to Happen
And now, with predictions so unlikely to come true that you can’t get a betting line on them in New Jersey, we offer these possibilities:
Jan. 1—A bleary-eyed Mayor de Blasio starts his morning staff meeting promptly at 2 p.m. by saying, “Is Happy New Year a major misnomer or what?”
A younger staffer interjects, “But Mr. Mayor, you looked so cool when the ball dropped at midnight.”
He responds, “That’s because I couldn’t show the public what I was really feeling. Don’t you know that stupid ceremony is just a reminder of how you and the rest of my staff drop the ball day after day? Because of your inability to convey to the world what a great Mayor I’ve been, I’m liable to be trapped in this job for another 1,096 days, unable to pursue a challenge worthy of my profound aura.”
“Maybe if the Democrats win the White House next year, you could be in line for a cabinet job,” another staffer says.
“What’d you have in mind?” Mr. de Blasio says.
“Didn’t you used to have a big job at the Department of Housing and Urban Development?”
“With all due respect,” the Mayor replies, “I appreciate the question, but you must be jumping the gun on marijuana legalization.”
“But what if Governor Cuomo becomes President?” the staffer asks. “I mean, you used to work for him at HUD.”
“Yes,” Mr. de Blasio says, “and if Andrew’s the winner, my chances of getting that job are about the same as your typical Housing Authority tenant has of getting repairs in her apartment anytime soon.”
“Why not run yourself?” First Deputy Mayor Dean Fuleihan says.
“Well, most important, how would it make Bernie Sanders feel if I whipped him in the New Hampshire primary?”
“Aren’t you the guy who said he couldn’t get elected to anything north of The Bronx?” Mr. Fuleihan retorts.
“So then how am I getting anywhere in the Democratic primaries?”
“I’ve got it!” Assistant of All Special Assistants Emma Wolfe declares. “You’ll run as the Progressive Trump and convince Democratic voters that out of a crowd of 23 candidates, you’re the one who’s the most electable.”
“You think so?” the Mayor says, eyes suddenly wide open. “I mean sure, I got two-thirds of the vote against Nicole Malliotakis, but unions like 1199, the UFT and DC 37 don’t have nearly as many members in places like Georgia and Kansas.”
“Try none, Sherlock,” Mr. Fuleihan says. “But you can convince all the ‘Waiting for Lefty’ voters that you check the same boxes that Trump did when no serious political pros game him a chance at this time four years ago.”
There Are Similarities
“I don’t think I’m anything like Donald Trump,” the Mayor says.
“Au contraire, Robespierre,” chief spokesman Eric Phillips says. “You’ve got an antagonistic relationship with the media.”
“You get outraged anytime someone suggests you’re dishonest.”
“I can’t disagree.”
“You curse the New York Times even as you secretly pine for its approval.”
“That Fake News Neuman won’t give me a break.”
“You seethe with resentment toward people who are richer than you and treat you like you’re a phony.”
“Those corporatist snobs.”
“And you only like to speak in front of friendly audiences.”
“Why doesn’t Pat Lynch give me the credit I deserve?”
“Exactly, Mayor,” Mr. Phillips says. “All you need is an exploratory candidacy over a few weeks in Iowa and New Hampshire with nothing protecting your face from the cold, and you’ll remind people of Trump, only in your case the odd complexion will be strictly natural.”
Bring in the Donors
“That’s what I’m talkin’ about, Brother,” the Mayor says with enthusiasm. “Let’s contact my big contributors to bankroll the exploration.”
“Actually, sir, you’re down a couple,” Mr. Fuleihan says.
“You mean Rechnitz and Reichberg,” Hizzoner replies. “I never counted much on those two bozos, even when I had them on speed-dial during the 2014 State Senate elections.”
“And Harendra Singh isn’t going to be able to help much.”
“That’s another guy I don’t want to wind up on any wiretapped conversations with.”
“And Jared Kushner may not be looking to help you this time.”
“What’s his alternative?” the Mayor asks, “Melissa Mark-Viverito?”
“Actually,” Ms. Wolfe says, “the Trump people are hoping you’ll get her backing.”
Mr. de Blasio replies, “That’ll happen around the time that Tish James and Cuomo give me a joint endorsement.”
Jan. 3—The new Democratic majority asserts itself in the House of Representatives by approving a continuing resolution to fund U.S. Government operations that, once quickly enacted by the Republican majority in the Senate, ends the shutdown without providing the $5.7 billion President Trump demanded for the border wall.
Asked why her conference refused to go beyond the $1.3 billion for border security that made no provision for a wall in the spending bill Mr. Trump rejected, triggering the shutdown, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi replied, “We don’t negotiate with terrorists. Especially not the ones with manhood issues.”
Mr. Trump responds with a series of angry tweets, including one that states: “MANHOOD ISSUES!!! I DON’T HAVE ANY MANHOOD ISSUES!!! NOT THAT I WOULD LET HER GET NEAR IT, BUT SHE COULDN’T HANDLE MY MANHOOD!!!”
“Nor would I want to,” Ms. Pelosi replies in a tweet of her own.
Mr. Trump then dubs her “Nasty Nancy.”
The Trill of Victory
Feb. 4—The day after the Baltimore Ravens defeat the New Orleans Saints 21-16 in the Super Bowl, Mr. Trump tells Fox News he will invite the team to the White House because “after those loser Philadelphia Eagles had their season go down the tubes once they disrespected me and the American flag and forced me to cancel the ceremony for them, no team would be dumb enough to make that mistake again.”
Asked about a full team visit, a Ravens’ spokesman offers this quote: “Nevermore.”
Feb. 26—Former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito wins the 27-candidate election for Public Advocate with 9 percent of the vote, and tells reporters she considers it a mandate to use her new job to pursue every controversial initiative she was previously forced to shelve, including renaming the David Dinkins Municipal Building to honor Che Guevara.
Asked by reporters for a response, Mayor de Blasio channels Al Pacino in “Godfather, Part 3.”
“Just when I thought she was out, they vote her back in again,” he says.
March 9—Amid rumors that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is about to issue his final report on possible collaboration between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election and subsequent obstruction of justice by the President, Mr. Trump fires him.
“You can’t do that!” Vice President Pence tells him.
“Because the House Democrats are going to impeach you, and the way the stock market’s plunging and your foreign policy is imploding, the Senate Republicans are likely to go along.”
“Hannity won’t let that happen,” Mr. Trump replies.
“Hannity won’t persuade the Supreme Court to nullify an impeachment,” Mr. Pence says.
“Then I’ll send Jeanine Pirro to read them the Riot Act. She outranks them—she not only used to be a judge, she played one on TV.”
“That doesn’t really count.”
“It should. You’re not gonna see anyone giving Sonia Sotomayor her own talk show.”
“This could turn into a disaster, Mr. President.”
“I’ve heard that before, Mike. You know what my response has always been? Let 'em sue.”
Turn Off the Mike
After Mr. Pence departs, the President summons Matthew Whitaker, who after being removed as Acting Attorney General when it was learned that he lied about being an Academic All American during his college football career was given a new assignment as Underboss to the President.
“What Pence said has me worried,” Mr. Trump says. “Nasty Nancy is liable to persuade Lying Ted and Meandering Mitch and the rest of those Republican snowflakes in the Senate to yank me outta here so they can save their skins in next year’s election with Pence at the top of the ticket. I think we have to fire Pence, too, and replace him with someone nobody would think was more electable than me.”
“Sir, I’d be honored to serve.”
“Not you, Whitaker, someone who at least seems plausible but wouldn’t have a chance at the top of the ticket.”
“Who might that be?”
“Get me Giuliani.”
March 31—Facing a midnight deadline, Governor Cuomo calls legislative leaders into his office to hash out a budget deal.
“Alright,” he tells Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, “I can live with us actually providing full funding for education and some of the other social engineering you’ve got. I mean, if I’m thinking about running for any other offices at some future date, that’s gonna make me look good with the national party. And I think it’s a fair trade-off that you wanna give the Mayor full control over the city transit system—let him deal with the agita when the trains start backing up. But where do you get the nerve to tack on ethics clauses that close the LLP loophole and prevent contracts from being awarded to people and businesses that contribute to my campaign?”
“You’ve been saying for years you wanted to end the LLP loophole,” Ms. Stewart-Cousins said.
“If I really wanted that, don’t you think we’d have done something on it by now?” Mr. Cuomo responds. “And who said a budget was the appropriate place to put ethics reforms?”
“Who said a panel whose only responsibility was to decide on pay raises was the appropriate body to impose limits on outside income?” Mr. Heastie responds.
Ringing Bill’s Bell
April 22—The PBA files an improper labor practice with the Board of Collective Bargaining, arguing that the Mayor has chilled the union’s right to protest in front of City Hall by not showing up there for the past three months.
"The TV cameras are getting tired of us chanting, 'No-show de Blasio,'" Mr. Lynch says.
A spokeswoman for the Mayor, responding to a Freedom of Information Law request, says that he is too busy checking signal problems in Queens and derailments in Brooklyn in his new capacity overseeing the transit system to have time to come to City Hall after his three-hour morning workout.
“If it’s any consolation to Pat,” she continues, “the Mayor says he is ready to bargain and is more flexible than ever.”
May 19—President Trump summons Vice President Giuliani to his office and informs him he has to be more aggressive on the Sunday morning talk shows.
“What,” Mr. Giuliani says, “you didn’t like when I told Chuck Todd that Tim Russert could still do a better job of hosting ‘Meet the Press’ than he does?”
“I don’t even know who Tim Russert is,” the President responds. And you can bet my base voters don’t, either. So stop talking to the Beltway Bolsheviks out there—the kind Putin drove out of Russia—and get the message out the way I’d do it, if I were willing to take follow-up questions. Forget about being my Roy Cohn; Jared’s been giving me talking points on Spiro Agnew, and I’ve gotta say I like his style. We’ve just gotta update it a bit.”
“You mean, instead of Nattering Nabobs of Negativism, something like Lying, Lily-Livered Liberal Losers?” Mr. Giuliani asks.
“Oh, I love it!” Mr. Trump says. “Let me tweet that one up so everyone thinks I invented it, and then you keep plugging it.”
“Let me ask you something,” Mr. Giuliani replies. “Did Jared tell you Spiro Agnew was forced to resign as Vice President and wound up going to jail? And that less than a year later, Nixon was forced to resign?”
Won’t Learn From History
“Listen, Rudy,” the President replies, “maybe that isn’t Fake History, but I can tell you right now, I’m not repeating it. Your job is to make sure the buck stops with you; mine is to make sure the bucks stop with me.”
June 26—After nightly rallies outside Gracie Mansion for the entire three-week voting period, Pat Lynch is re-elected to a sixth term as PBA President with 71 percent of the vote.
Mr. de Blasio, who has been staying at Bernie Sanders’s home in Vermont throughout in order to get his usual 10 hours’ sleep before his morning sojourns to Park Slope, hopes to bring the rallies to a close and takes a conciliatory tack, calling the union leader to congratulate him. “Thank you, Mayor,” Mr. Lynch replies. “I couldn’t have done it without you.”
A day later, he withdraws the union’s lawsuit objecting to Mr. Linn being part of the arbitration panel.
July 20—Two days after a Siena College poll shows him drawing 12 percent of the vote in New Hampshire in a possible Democratic field of 17 candidates for President, Mr. Cuomo is spotted shaking hands with visitors to Greeley Park in the southern part of the state.
Asked by a local reporter what he is doing there, the Governor replies, "I told my driver I wanted to go to Nassau for lunch with the Long Island State Senate delegation. The GPS must’ve misunderstood, and we wound up in Nashua instead.”
“Isn’t that kind of far outta your way?” the reporter asks.
“I just figured the GPS gave my driver an alternate route because traffic was so bad on the LIE,” Mr. Cuomo says.
Aug. 19—Mr. Trump grows alarmed when he sees Vice President Giuliani with enough baggage for a 10-day trip outside the White House grounds. “Where do you think you’re going?” he asks.
“Mr. President, I’m off on the big Yankee West Coast trip,” the former Mayor replies. “A’s, Dodgers and Mariners, nine games in nine days to set them up for their big September run at the Red Sox.”
“Who said I could spare you for that long?”
“Why, you did, when you first asked me to take this job.”
“But that was five months ago. I never expected it was gonna be an issue because I figured I’d fire you by the Fourth of July, make some history by replacing you with Ivanka.”
Shouldn’t Be a Problem
“Well that’s good to know, Mr. President, but I still don’t see why it should be a problem, with Congress in recess until after Labor Day."
“I’ve got news for you, America’s Vice President. The Sunday talk shows aren’t on recess. Morning Joe’s not on recess, the Fake News New York Times isn’t on recess and Publicity Hound Acosta isn’t on recess. Who’m I gonna talk to when they’re taking bites out of me in every news cycle?”
“You can always call me, Mr. President. Just remember I’ll be on Pacific Time, so try not to do it before 10 a.m. here.”
“Well then don’t blame me if I call up Newt Gingrich instead and wind up launching a nuclear strike on California.”
Sept. 24—Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez announces she will be the 26th Democrat seeking the party’s nomination for President.
“After almost nine months in office,” she tells a huge media crowd packed into Fogo de Chao steakhouse on Pennsylvania Ave., “I feel like I completely understand how Washington works, and it’s time to take the next step.”
“Do you feel you know both foreign and domestic issues thoroughly?” a reporter asks her.
“I’m really certain,” she replies, “that if I look at a situation, ask what would Trump do, and then just do the opposite, I’d be pretty good.”
Watching the coverage from the White House, the President says to Mr. Giuliani, “Was she one of those dangerous people who got through with the caravans?”
Rudy replies, “I’m pretty sure she was born in The Bronx.”
“Well let’s check her immigration status.”
Oct. 30—The Yankees defeat the Dodgers in Game 6 to win the World Series. Reached in the clubhouse at Yankee Stadium, Mr. Giuliani tells the President, “Great news! They’ve asked me to stick around for the parade on Friday.”
“But that’s when the House is voting on impeachment!” Mr. Trump sputters.
“Well, maybe it’ll go your way,” Mr. Giuliani tells him, shouting to be heard over the whoops of happy Yankee players.
The Impossible Dream
“With my poll numbers? Who do you think you’re kidding?”
“Well, Mr. President, if they vote you out, try to stick around through the weekend. That way, I won’t have to rush back to be sworn in!”
The former Mayor swears he heard Mr. Trump say, “You’re worse than Cohen” before clicking off on him.
Moments later, a tweet comes up: “Add Rudy to my Rat List!!!”
Nov. 26—Mayor de Blasio, having persuaded himself he can be a viable candidate for President, asks fundraiser Ross Offinger if he has a phone number where Jona Rechnitz can be reached.
“You sure you wanna talk to him?” Mr. Offinger asks. “I know he got off with no jail time in return for his cooperation with the Feds, but have you forgotten what a rotten person you said he was?”
“I’m not looking for him to be slogging through the snows of New Hampshire with me,” Hizzoner replies. “I just want him to bundle some money.”
“People are gonna think he’s wearing a wire and setting them up when he calls for money,” Mr. Offinger says. “They’ll never believe you hired him. And what if the Post gets wind of it, after all the stories they’ve done about you stacking the payroll with special assistants?”
“I just had a transcendent thought,” the Mayor replies. “How about we call him an Agent of the City?”
A New Ballgame
Dec. 30—After two months of negotiations with American media conglomerates and foreign nations, Mr. Trump announces he is leaving office to become a commentator on both Fox News and Russian TV.
The angriest response comes from Mr. Cuomo. “My whole campaign strategy was based on running against Trump!” he says. “Now what’s the rationale for my candidacy?”
Happy New Year.
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