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A former aide to New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo ripped into his character in an op-ed even as she complimented him for his “competent” leadership during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
In a piece for the leftist magazine The Nation, Alexis Grenell blasted her former boss following a tense press conference between him and reporters, referring to him as “St. Andrew of COVID.”
“The Andrew Cuomo New Yorkers know and mostly tolerate, the snarling attack dog who gaslights fellow Democrats and deploys staff to call his female critics ‘f**king idiots,’ dropped down to Earth last week. It was a hard landing after a long-distance love affair with a fanbase in a galaxy far, far away,” Grenell wrote.
She was referring to a press conference last week in which he dragged reporters who said they were confused regarding the status of New York state’s public school policies regarding in-person attendance amid spikes in COVID-19 infections.
“The trouble started when Jimmy Vielkind from The Wall Street Journal asked the obvious question that every New York City public school parent wanted to know: Will schools be open tomorrow?” Grenell wrote. “Cuomo’s months (years, really) of p*ssing all over Mayor Bill de Blasio have naturally caused confusion over who owns this loser of a decision, compounded by the fact that the city (3 percent) and state’s (2.5 percent) data on infection rates don’t align.”
But, she continued, Cuomo refused to answer the question directly and instead “threw a Trump-style tantrum.”
“First of all let’s try not to be obnoxious and offensive in your tone because you’re 100 percent wrong, these laws have all been in effect for months,” Cuomo said, referring to the 3 percent infection threshold for closing schools to in-person instruction. “I don’t know if you were here or you were paying attention.”
From there, Grenell writes, the press conference “devolved…into a hot screening mess” as Cuomo responded variously, “We did it already! That’s the law! An orange zone and a red zone! Follow the facts!”
But Vielkind pressed: “I’m confused. Parents are confused as well.”
“They’re not confused,” Cuomo shot back without addressing the initial question. “You’re confused. Read the law, and they won’t be confused.”
That said, a New York Times reporter also said he was confused about the various closure thresholds. However, Grenell wrote that “the governor brushed it aside as a media conspiracy, saying:
I don’t really care what you think. Of course, you agree with him because you’re in the same business with him.
“The whole show ended with Cuomo standing behind the dais shouting at the entire room, ‘New Yorkers are doing a great job, and don’t demean them. It’s disrespectful to New Yorkers!’”
Grenell continued, “Cuomo undeniably offered a vision of competent, humane government at the height of the crisis, but this is who he is the rest of the time. It’s why he and his staff reflexively insult anyone who criticizes his handling of the pandemic or insists on returning to the normal system of democratic governance as Jefferson envisioned it.”
She went on to list some examples of how Cuomo has pushed back against Democrat and Republican lawmakers, as well as public policy groups, who press his administration for information regarding the effects of the pandemic on the state or who want to rescind the emergency powers he was given in March as the virus spread throughout the state.
“It all boils down to this: Any dissent is a partisan attack on our very lives, and Andrew Cuomo is our only hope,” Grenell said.
“Indeed, St. Andrew, our savior of the spring, is now milking his 15 minutes of fame for an extra 30. That’s the problem with local reporters, who aren’t your sycophantic brother or the rest of the national media; they’re not here to powder your image,” she added.
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