“The State governments,” the quote on Cuomo’s PowerPoint presentation read, “possess inherent advantages, which will ever give them an influence and ascendancy over the National Government, and will forever preclude the possibility of federal encroachments. That their liberties, indeed, can be subverted by the federal head, is repugnant to every rule of political calculation.”
Hamilton uttered those words at the New York ratifying convention in 1788. The quote appears in numerous books about Hamilton, who became a cultural icon and favorite Founder after Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit play premiered in 2015.
An immigrant from the Caribbean, Hamilton moved to New York in 1773 and became one of George Washington’s closest confidants during the Revolutionary War. He wrote 50 of the 85 Federalist Papers, championing a strong central government.
Washington made him the country’s first secretary of the Treasury, putting him in charge of the new nation’s monetary policy. He wielded great power until 1804, when Vice President Aaron Burr killed him in a duel.
Hamilton, who appears on the $10 bill, was cited by Democrats during Trump’s impeachment. The coronavirus has shut down much of New York, including its theaters, but brought Hamilton back to the public stage in the escalating debate over when the country should “reopen” and what power Trump has to overrule governors who might want to wait longer.
Responding to Trump, Cuomo said, “We don’t have a king in this country. We didn’t want a king, so we have a Constitution and we elect a president.” In addition to displaying Hamilton’s remarks during his news conference, the governor also tweeted them.
“State governments possess inherent advantages, which will ever give them an influence & ascendency over the Nat’l Gov & will forever preclude the possibility of federal encroachments. That their liberties can be subverted by the federal head is repugnant…” —Alexander Hamilton
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) April 14, 2020
Trump has yet to address Cuomo’s quoting of Hamilton, but earlier in the day Tuesday he tweeted:
Cuomo’s been calling daily, even hourly, begging for everything, most of which should have been the state’s responsibility, such as new hospitals, beds, ventilators, etc. I got it all done for him, and everyone else, and now he seems to want Independence! That won’t happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 14, 2020
With Broadway now dark, Hamilton could not be reached for comment.