New York Governor Andrew Cuomo came under fire for throwing a tantrum at reporters and being clueless about school closures in his own state.
The Democrat leader snapped back at repeated questions about the closing of New York City public schools due to a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases. Cuomo impatiently sparred with reporters during a press briefing Wednesday in which he denied the closures only to be informed moments later that Mayor Bill de Blasio had announced that they would, in fact, be closing the next day.
Both the governor and the mayor came under fire for the dismal leadership and lack of communication which led to the fiery exchange as Cuomo mockingly dismissed questions from reporters on whether he would “override” the decision to shut down schools in the nation’s biggest city.
“What are you talking about? ‘You’re now going to override,’ we did it already! That’s the law!” the governor shouted at Wall Street Journal reporter Jimmy Vielkind. “An orange zone and a red zone, follow the facts!”
“I’m still confused,” Vielkind replied.
“Then you’re confused!” Cuomo told him.
“I’m confused and parents are still confused as well,” the reporter shot back.
“No, they’re not confused. You’re confused,” the governor declared. “Read the law and you won’t be confused.”
Asked if schools will be open “tomorrow,” the Democrat prompted pushback from another reporter when he said the “schools are open by state law.”
“Well, I don’t really care what you think. Of course, you agree with him because you’re in the same business with him,” Cuomo said.
Vielkind pointed to the regulations again and noted how schools will close if the infection rate hits three percent.
“Let’s do it again, for you, this maybe gets confusing over the days and nights,” Cuomo smugly responded. “Seven hundred school districts, they all set their own number. That’s their number unless they fall into a microcluster.”
After the confusion and seeming denials from the governor, it was learned that de Blasio’s office did announce the school closures which would take effect on Thursday. Cuomo seemed to acknowledge the information after New York Times reporter Jesse McKinley shared the news.
Cuomo refuses to answer whether schools are open tomorrow, de Blasio is now 4 full hours late for his press conference, the city and state use different numbers for average positivity rate.
— Eliza Shapiro (@elizashapiro) November 18, 2020
“That 3 percent, the mayor set, in my opinion, in a collaborative with the parents,” he said. “That was the agreement and the agreement should be honored.”
Cuomo was immediately blasted on social media for his condescending treatment of reporters, even as de Blasio was being called out for not making his announcement before New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza broke the news in an email to principals.
Here’s the email from Carranza to principals, sent about 5 min ago: pic.twitter.com/o6yaFy2zzh
— Eliza Shapiro (@elizashapiro) November 18, 2020
“New York City has reached the 3% testing positivity 7-day average threshold. Unfortunately, this means public school buildings will be closed as of tomorrow, Thursday Nov. 19, out an abundance of caution. We must fight back the second wave of COVID-19,” the mayor tweeted, confirming the closures on Wednesday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Cuomo was raked over the coals for his behavior at Wednesday’s press conference.
“Look at his indignation!” former NBC and Fox News host Megyn Kelly tweeted.
“At the suggestion that NYC schools might close on Thu. “You’re confused,” he says smugly. Right before NYC announces: School’s are closing on Thu. Gross,” added Kelly, who just announced she is pulling her children out of their “woke” Upper West Side private school in New York City.
“For someone who presided over so many deaths, especially so many avoidable deaths in nursing homes!, Governor Cuomo should perhaps be a little less overconfident, little less mocking, and a little less aggressive in Covid (!) briefings with the media,” MSNBC analyst Mehdi Hasan tweeted.
“That’s some Trumpian treatment of a reporter asking a legitimate and fair question, @NYGovCuomo,” Politico reporter Andrew Disiderio wrote on Twitter.
There is no doubt — @NYCMayor is without question the worst mayor who has ever lived. Ever. Anywhere. On the planet. Or outer space.
— Melissa Francis (@MelissaAFrancis) November 18, 2020
WHILE Cuomo is in a briefing, NYC tries to close schools tomorrow according to the NYTimes? One constant about this pandemic NYC and state levels are literally never on the same page.
— Nellie ✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿🇯🇲🗽 (@BklynActiveMama) November 18, 2020
cuomo is being incredibly condescending and rude for someone who wrote a book about how well he managed the pandemic before it was over
— David Mack (@davidmackau) November 18, 2020
It’s nice to see the old @andrewcuomo back yelling at reporters and making an egregious ass out of himself.
Remember when all the wine libs wanted to sleep with him?
— ʙᴇɴɪɢᴍᴀ (@benigma2017) November 18, 2020