Meet the Cuomo family, the New York political dynasty that's become the face of America's response to the coronavirus pandemic

Cuomo Family

The Cuomo family is one of the most notable dynasties in New York's political history. The late Mario Cuomo was the governor of New York for over a decade, serving three terms. His eldest son, Andrew, is the current governor of New York, while his youngest son, Chris, is a primetime news anchor on CNN.

In recent weeks, the Cuomo family has been in the national spotlight due to the praise Andrew has been receiving for the way he's handling New York's coronavirus outbreak. New York State has over 30,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with over 17,500 cases in New York City alone, according to CNN's latest updates as of Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Chris Cuomo has been covering the pandemic on CNN. The two brothers actually went on air together to talk about the virus; a now-trending clip shows the brothers not only talking about the pandemic, but also getting into a brotherly tiff about who is their mother's favorite child.

Representatives for Andrew and Chris Cuomo didn't immediately respond to request for comment from Business Insider regarding the brothers' personal lives, careers, real estate, earnings, and respective controversies.

Keep reading to find out more about the Cuomo family and some of its most prominent members.

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The Cuomo family is one of the most powerful and influential New York political dynasties ever.

The Cuomo family is one of the most powerful and influential New York political dynasties ever.

The most notable members of the family are Mario, the former three-term governor of New York State, Andrew, the current governor of New York State, and Chris, a CNN primetime news anchor.

Andrew Cuomo has been in the national spotlight in recent weeks as people praise the way he is leading New York State through the coronavirus pandemic.

Andrew Cuomo has been in the national spotlight in recent weeks as people praise the way he is leading New York State through the coronavirus pandemic.

New York is the hardest hit state in the US, with 32,700 cases as of Wednesday.

Cases are expected to peak within the next three weeks, and a temporary morgue has even been built outside of New York City's Bellevue Hospital.

On March 20, the governor signed an executive order telling all non-essential businesses to keep their employees home, starting the evening of Sunday, March 23, Business Insider's Bryan Pietsch reported. The order also told New Yorkers to avoid gathering in groups and to avoid public transportation unless absolutely needed.

He also also implemented "Matilda's Law," a reference to his mother, which seeks to give protection to those over the age of 70 during the pandemic.

A recent Business Insider poll revealed that Cuomo and infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci are the most trusted leaders in America on the coronavirus right now, with both ranking far above President Donald Trump.

His father Mario Cuomo was born in South Jamaica, Queens, on June 15, 1932.

His father Mario Cuomo was born in South Jamaica, Queens, on June 15, 1932.

Mario's parents were immigrants from Italy, both hailing from Campania, a region in the south. After coming to America, they owned a store in South Jamaica, Queens.

Mario attended St. John's University for both college and law school, graduating with his JD in 1956. He worked for various small firms before becoming a partner at the law firm of Comer, Weisbrod, Froeb and Charles, though he left in 1974 to run for Lieutenant Governor of New York.

However, the gubernatorial ticket he ran on lost. Instead, Governor-elect Hugh Carey brought him on as Secretary of State of New York, a position Mario held from 1975 to 1978. After that, he served as the Lieutenant Governor of New York from 1979 to 1982.

Source: New York Times

Before becoming lieutenant governor, Mario unsuccessfully ran for New York City mayor.

Before becoming lieutenant governor, Mario unsuccessfully ran for New York City mayor.

The race between Mario Cuomo, and, then-US Representative Ed Koch for New York City mayor was infamously tense and heated. Koch ended up winning the election.

Source: New York Times

Mario was the governor of New York from 1983 to 1994.

Mario was the governor of New York from 1983 to 1994.

As governor, Mario was known for his bold public presence and often found himself at odds with the state legislature over issues such as taxes and program cuts. He was a noted liberal and known for being a "tenacious debater."

As John Cassidy of The New Yorker noted, the former governor became known for his speech at the 1984 Democratic Convention in San Francisco where he famously told then-President Ronald Reagan that Reagan "ought to know that this nation is more 'A Tale of Two Cities' than it is just 'a shining city on a hill."

Mario himself described his political philosophy as "progressive pragmatism" and spoke up for many marginalized communities. He did increase state spending on public education and health care, but he also built more prisons than any other state elected official before him.

Source: New York Times, New Yorker

In 1991, Mario almost ran for president.

In 1991, Mario almost ran for president.

In his profile of Andrew Cuomo, The Atlantic's Edward-Isaac Dovere recounted how Mario almost flew to New Hampshire to file his presidential bid for the 1992 election, but then backed out at the last minute because "[New York] state Senate Republicans were fighting him over the budget."

"It seems to me I cannot turn my attention to New Hampshire while this threat hangs over the head of the New Yorkers that I've sworn to put first," he said at a news conference, just moments after he pulled out of filing his presidential ticket at the last minute.

Source: The Atlantic

Mario was also nearly then-President Bill Clinton's first appointment to the Supreme Court in 1993.

Mario was also nearly then-President Bill Clinton's first appointment to the Supreme Court in 1993.

According to The New Yorker's Hendrik Hertzberg, Clinton "had long known whom he wanted for his first appointment" to the Supreme Court: Mario Cuomo.

After weeks of "back-and-forth" between Clinton's aide, George Stephanopoulos, and Andrew Cuomo, representing his dad, Mario decided he wouldn't accept the appointment. But he wavered on that decision two months later, when Clinton finally decided on his second choice, and Andrew informed Stephanopoulos that his father would accept the Supreme Court appointment if it was offered again.

Ultimately, in June, Mario decided he couldn't accept after all and told Stephanopoulos not to have the president call him.

"I surrender so many opportunities of service if I take the Court. I feel that I would abandon what I have to do," Mario told him, according to Stephanopoulos' White House memoir "All Too Human."

Source: The New Yorker, Vox, The New York Times

Mario married Matilda Raffa in 1954, when he was still a law student.

Mario married Matilda Raffa in 1954, when he was still a law student.

The two met in 1951, when she was attending the teachers' college at St. John's while Mario was in law school there.

Matilda and Mario had five kids together: Andrew, Maria, Margaret, Madeline, and Chris, all of whom were born and raised in Queens. Mario died in 2015 of heart failure.

Source: Intelligencer

Both of Matilda's parents were Italian immigrants hailing from Sicily.

Both of Matilda's parents were Italian immigrants hailing from Sicily.

Matilda was born in 1931, though her birth name is actually Mattia. According to the Chicago Tribune's Paula Cohen, her name was changed to Matilda because her teachers used to call her Matilda rather than Mattia.

A noted advocate for women and children, Matilda is the founder of Mentoring USA, a program which assigns students mentors to help curb the student drop-out rate. In 2015, Matilda was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame for her lifetime of advocacy.

In March 2020, when her son, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, began passing laws to help fight the spread of the coronavirus in New York State, he announced a law named after his mother: "Matilda's Law" provides protection for New Yorkers over the age of 70, in addition to those with compromised immune systems and underlying diseases.

Source: Intelligencer

Andrew Cuomo, the oldest Cuomo sibling, is currently the governor of New York.

Andrew Cuomo, the oldest Cuomo sibling, is currently the governor of New York.

He attended Fordham University and Albany Law School.

Before becoming governor, Andrew was the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under the Clinton Administration from 1997 to 2001.

In 2006, he became the New York State Attorney General. He was elected and sworn in as Governor of New York in 2011; in 2015, he was re-elected and sworn in again.

Source: Fordham University, Albany Law, The Atlantic, New York Times

When Andrew Cuomo was inaugurated in 2011, it was the first time in state history that a father and son had both been elected governor, according to the New York Times.

When Andrew Cuomo was inaugurated in 2011, it was the first time in state history that a father and son had both been elected governor, according to the New York Times.

As governor, he helped to legalize same-sex marriage in New York, helped form the United States Climate Alliance, passed strict gun control laws, increased minimum wage, and legalized medical marijuana.

As Business Insider previously reported, Andrew Cuomo makes at least $200,000 a year as the governor of New York.

In a March 2019 profile by The Atlantic's Edward-Isaac Dovere, Cuomo was described as "irritating, confounding, and egotistical [but] he can also be engaging, intense, and charismatic."

Dovere also noted that despite the fact that "most politicians in New York and beyond can't stand him," Cuomo "wins [elections] in landslides."

Source: Fordham University, Albany Law, The Atlantic, New York Times

Andrew's tenure has not been without controversy.

Andrew's tenure has not been without controversy.

In 2014, his administration faced criticism after it was accused of interfering with an ethics commission, according to Vox's Andrew Prokop. And in 2018, Joseph Percoco, a close Cuomo family friend and Andrew's aide, was convicted of corruption.

In October 2019, Andrew again faced controversy when he used a racial epithet on the radio as he quoted a New York Times op-ed about slurs against Italian-Americans.

"They used an expression that southern Italians were called, I believe they were saying southern Italians, Sicilians — I'm half Sicilian — were called, quote-unquote and pardon my language, but I'm just quoting the [New York] Times: 'n—– wops.' N-word wops, as a derogatory comment," Cuomo said, according to the New York Post.

He was once married to Kerry Kennedy, the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy.

He was once married to Kerry Kennedy, the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy.

Andrew and Kerry got married in 1990 after just 18 months of dating, according to People. Their first date, according to a 2003 article in the New York Times, was a tour of a homeless shelter. Kerry reportedly said this is where she first fell in love with him.

They had two kids together before divorcing in 2005.

Andrew later began dating Sandra Lee, who is a host on Food Network. They split in 2019.

Andrew later began dating Sandra Lee, who is a host on Food Network. They split in 2019.

Lee and Cuomo met in 2005 at a cocktail party in the Hamptons, according to People. They began living together in 2008.

During their decade-plus relationship, Sandra and Andrew lived in a home in Westchester. The property was on the market with an asking price of $1.7 million as of August, Curbed reports. It first hit the market earlier that year, in May, with a $2.3 million price tag.

Source: New York Times

According to a 2012 interview with the New York Times, when Sandra first met Andrew, she described him as a "huge, musclebound man."

According to a 2012 interview with the New York Times, when Sandra first met Andrew, she described him as a "huge, musclebound man."

Sandra also addressed why they'd never married, even though Andrew, at the time, was rumored to be making a presidential run and, as Goldman noted, "People without spouses don't get elected president anymore."

"Andrew is focused on being governor. He's not running for president," Lee responded to Goldman. "We're happy in the relationship the way it is. Still, I can tell you that Andrew's kids want us to get married. It's very sweet."

She also refused the notion that Cuomo was "hot-tempered" and said that he was "patient and mellow" with her.

"We never fight," she said. "He doesn't give me grief."

Source: New York Times

Andrew also likes to vacation. He's particularly fond of Saranac Lake, New York, according to the New York Times.

Andrew also likes to vacation. He's particularly fond of Saranac Lake, New York, according to the New York Times.

The governor has been known to visit Saranac Lake with his family. As the New York Times reported in 2011, the village is a lesser-known tourist attraction, and visitors can fish, shop, and eat near Lake Placid.

The village is also near destinations like Whiteface Mountain, where Cuomo took his daughter skiing. Sandra also said that Saranac Lake was one of her favorite vacation spots.

"I've been all across the country; the Adirondacks are a national treasure," Andrew once said. "It renews me. It just gets you in touch with nature and it's just one of the really special places on the planet — period."

Source: New York Times

In 2015, he took a vacation to the Caribbean — though he barely leaves New York state.

In 2015, he took a vacation to the Caribbean — though he barely leaves New York state.

Andrew and his family were reportedly vacationing in the Caribbean at the same time that Mayor Bill de Blasio was in Puerto Rico with his own family, though it wasn't disclosed where exactly the Cuomos traveled to, Observer's Ross Barkan reported at the time.

Barkan reported that Andrew, like his father, is known to rarely leave the state of New York. However, after his re-election for second term in 2015, Andrew announced he will travel out of the state more.

City and State New York reported in May 2019 that Andrew, throughout his nine years in office, had only been out of the state for a total of 33 days, most of which were visits to Washington D.C. and occasional "short overseas trips."

Source: Observer

Andrew has also become known for his clashes with President Donald Trump.

Andrew has also become known for his clashes with President Donald Trump.

According to People, Andrew has previously called Trump a "coward" and "un-American."

In his 2019 interview with The Atlantic's Dovere, the governor said that Trump was "personally and emotionally motivated." He continued by saying that Trump was "without long-term strategy and tactics" and that "he's scared."

"He's lost a lot [of supporters] who have lost faith in him," the governor told Dovere. "Once you lose faith in the person, the message loses credibility … He was a businessman, outsider, successful, articulate. And a fresh face. He had all that going for him. Now he is mercurial. Obnoxious. Alienating."

Trump tweeted in March 2019 that Andrew Cuomo was "now a proud member of the group of presidential harassers."

"It is very hard and expensive to live in New York. Governor Andrew Cuomo uses his Attorney General as a bludgeoning tool for his own purposes," Trump complained on Twitter in July. "I even got sued on a Foundation which took zero rent & expenses & gave away more money than it had."

Source: The Atlantic

In his March 2019 profile of Andrew for The Atlantic, Dovere said the differences between Mario and Andrew were "huge."

In his March 2019 profile of Andrew for The Atlantic, Dovere said the differences between Mario and Andrew were "huge."

"Mario would blow up in a rage, while Andrew tends to bide his time for revenge; Mario was more of a book guy, while Andrew is more of a car guy," Dovere wrote. "Andrew ran his father's campaigns as his political bruiser; Mario wrote policy memos for his son's campaigns and taped cards from supporters to them with long notes explaining why he should call them."

Despite their personality differences, the two were close. Mario died the night of Andrew's second inauguration, and Andrew referenced his father in that inaugural address.

"He was my best friend. He was my best ally," Andrew told Dovere. "My best colleague. Brilliant. Principled."

Source: The Atlantic

Mario's and Matilda's oldest daughter, Maria Cuomo, is married to fashion designer Kenneth Cole.

Mario's and Matilda's oldest daughter, Maria Cuomo, is married to fashion designer Kenneth Cole.

She is the chairwoman of HELP USA, a charitable foundation.

Kenneth Cole's eponymous company used to be public, but he took it private again in 2012. At that time, the company had a valuation of $280 million, Inc. reported.

Source: InStyle

The second oldest daughter is Margaret, who is a radiologist.

The second oldest daughter is Margaret, who is a radiologist.

Margaret also attended St. John's University and is the founder of The Italian Language Foundation, alongside her mother.

In 2011, she and her mother were awarded the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity, an award Italy gives out to expats who have made a meaningful contribution to Italy since World War II. The award was presented to her by Giorgio Napolitano, who was the president of Italy at the time.

Source: Cancer Schmancer

The youngest daughter is Madeline Cuomo. She lives a very private life.

The youngest daughter is Madeline Cuomo. She lives a very private life.

In 1993, she married her high school sweetheart, Brian O'Donoghue. At the time, The New York Times reported that she was an associate at the New York-based law firm Shea & Gould, which shuttered in 1994.

She attended the State University at Albany and earned her JD from Albany Law School.

Source: New York Times

Youngest son Chris Cuomo is a primetime news anchor for CNN.

Youngest son Chris Cuomo is a primetime news anchor for CNN.

Previously, Chris was the host of "New Day" with Alisyn Camerota. He hosted the show from 2013 until 2018 when he moved to host "Cuomo Prime Time."

Before CNN, Chris worked at ABC. From 2006 to 2009, he was an anchor for Good Morning America. He also served as ABC News' Chief Law and Justice Correspondent and was an 20/20 c0-anchor. Prior to his time at ABC, he was a correspondent for Fox News Channel.

He attended Yale University and Fordham Law.

Money Inc's Allen Lee estimates that Chris Cuomo has a net worth of around $12 million and earns around $2.5 million a year from hosting his CNN show.

Source: CNN

In August 2019, Chris made headlines after a video surfaced of him yelling at a Trump supporter who called him "Fredo."

In August 2019, Chris made headlines after a video surfaced of him yelling at a Trump supporter who called him "Fredo."

The name "Fredo" refers to a character from "The Godfather." Fredo is the older brother of Michael Corleone, who is unable to live up to his little brother's charm and glory. Chris yelled in the video that the word "Fredo" is "an Italian aspersion ... It's like the N-word to us."

He then goes on to threaten the man with violence, saying he would "throw" him down the stairs "like a f—ing punk."

Donald Trump Jr. responded to Chris on Twitter saying, "Take it from me, 'Fredo' isn't the N word for Italians, it just means you're the dumb brother."

Donald Trump also responded to the video saying, "I thought Chris was Fredo also. The truth hurts."

CNN stood with Chris during the controversy, with CNN President of Communications Matt Dornic tweeting, "Chris Cuomo defended himself when he was verbally attacked with the use of an ethnic slur in an orchestrated setup. We completely support him."

Source: The Cut

Since 2001, Chris has been married to magazine editor Cristina Greeven.

Since 2001, Chris has been married to magazine editor Cristina Greeven.

The two were married in Southampton, New York, and live in Manhattan with their three children.

The family previously owned a 5-bedroom, 4-bathroom home in Southampton, which was put on the market last year with an asking price of $2.9 million. Since 2011, Cuomo and his wife have reportedly lived in a $2.9 million apartment on Park Avenue in New York City.

Source: New York Daily News

In early March, Andrew went on Chris' CNN show to talk about the pandemic.

In early March, Andrew went on Chris' CNN show to talk about the pandemic.

A now internet famous clip shows the brothers not only talking about the pandemic and the measures the governor is taking to lead New York State through it, but also getting into a brotherly tiff about who is their mother's favorite child.

"I called mom just before I came on this show, by the way, she said I was her favorite," Andrew told his brother on the show. "Good news is, she said you were her second favorite."

"No," Chris responded. "We both know neither of us are mom's first or second favorite."

Source: CNN

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