New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo has been telling his constituents to stay home for Thanksgiving. He said, “This year if you love someone, it is better and safer to stay away.”
In a press conference on Nov. 18, he said he would not be spending Thanksgiving with his mother and family because it is “not safe.”
“Your home sounds safe. Your dining room table at Thanksgiving sounds safe. This is a safe environment. I’ll be safe. No, you won’t be safe. It’s an illusion,” he said.
But in a Nov. 23 radio interview with WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Cuomo said his 89-year-old mother would be coming up to spend Thanksgiving with the governor and two of his daughters.
“The story is my mom is going to come up and two of my girls is the current plan. But the plans change. But that’s my plan,” Cuomo said.
The announcement of his Thanksgiving plans drew heavy criticism from the public, especially since he invited his elderly mother who is vulnerable to the virus.
The Washington Post’s data reporter Christopher Ingraham voiced his outrage about “this allegedly pro-science party,” saying that his behavior is unbelievable, given that people “look to leaders for signals.”
The optics of this even have some questioning: “if they actually believed (it) [the virus] was as serious as they claim, they wouldn’t behave this way.”
After the uproar of criticism, the governor changed his plans. Cuomo’s senior advisor Rich Azzopardi said the governor “had been discussing seeing his mother with two of his daughters for a four-person Thanksgiving in accordance with all state-issued guidance, but as he also said the plans were still changing. Given the current circumstances with COVID, he will have to work through Thanksgiving and will not be seeing them.”
Some people have been saying the governor’s actions ring similar to California’s Governor Gavin Newsom’s behavior. Governor Newsom has been criticized for skirting his own rules after he was caught attending a lavish birthday dinner on Nov. 6. Many were upset that California Medical Association officials, CEO Dustin Corcoran and lobbyist Janus Norman were among those at the dinner.
Saying “the walls speak,” former reporter Adam Housely said the nature of the dinner was not exactly as the media reported. He said the tab was $15,000, and there were 22 people, not 12, who were all indoors, not socially distanced, or wearing masks.