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COVID-19: Cuomo Lashes Out At Sheriffs, Media Amid Spike In Cases

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had harsh words for sheriffs and the media at his COVID-19 briefing.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had harsh words for sheriffs and the media at his COVID-19 briefing. Photo Credit: ny.gov

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had pointed words for some of the state’s law enforcement agencies who have stated that they will not penalize families gather on Thanksgiving in violation of the state’s COVID-19 guidance.

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During a COVID-19 press briefing on Wednesday, Nov. 18, Cuomo expressed incredulity that some law enforcement agencies outright stated that they would not penalize gatherings of more than 10 people over the holiday.

“That I believe violates that person's constitutional oath,” he said. “I don't believe that person is a law enforcement officer. I believe that person should not be certified as a law enforcement officer.

“I don't want a law enforcement officer who says I'm only enforcing the laws that I like or that I think should be enforced.”

Cuomo said that he realizes it is a difficult mandate to enforce, and that officers won’t be going door-to-door checking on individual homes, but if they see a large gathering they ought to intervene.

“It's very hard to restrict. It's very hard to regulate and it's very hard to police,” he said. “So, yeah. Is it hard to police, yes. But if you see it, stop it. That's really the point of the law. If you see it, stop it. Don't invade privacy, don't do any of that, but if you see it, stop it.”

During the same briefing, Cuomo also traded barbs with some reporters after he took offense about a question regarding school closings, repeating his stance that the state is making its determinations based on science and facts.

“What are you talking about? 'You're now going to override,' we did it already! That's the law!" Cuomo said when asked whether he would overrule any decision by city officials to close schools. "An orange zone and a red zone, follow the facts!”

The consternation didn’t subside, and Cuomo went on to have terse exchanges with other reporters over other topics, drawing some backlash for the governor on social media.

“For someone who presided over so many deaths, especially so many avoidable deaths in nursing homes!,” MSNBC analyst Mehdi Hasan tweeted. “Governor Cuomo should perhaps be a little less overconfident, little less mocking, and a little less aggressive in Covid (!) briefings with the media.”

Cuomo hasn’t commented on his exchange with certain media members, but doubled down on his stance on large Thanksgiving dinners.

“A small Thanksgiving dinner is no less meaningful than a big one,” he said. “In fact, the best way to show your thanks and love this year is to stay home.”

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