New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been soaking up the adulation of partisans for months as he positioned himself as the calm and collected master of COVID-19 amid the pandemic chaos.
Ex-aide Alexis Grenell came forward to burst Cuomo’s bubble in a scathing op-ed published on Thursday, charging the governor with being a “snarling attack dog who gaslights fellow Democrats and deploys staff to call his female critics ‘f—–g idiots’.”
As the nation grappled with a rising COVID-19 outbreak in March and April, Cuomo’s state took the hardest hit, and the governor’s initial response earned him heaps of praise as he calmly ushered his constituents through the devastation.
It was a wise move to immediately position himself as a sympathetic but decisive leader from the outset so that after he ordered thousands of COVID-positive patients into the state’s nursing homes, his decision would not be questioned by the media. It didn’t hurt to be part of a New York Democrat dynasty.
CNN anchor Chris Cuomo asked his brother in an April interview, “I’ve seen you referred to a little bit recently as the ‘love gov’ and I’m wondering if that’s bleeding into your demeanor at all and making you a little soft on the president?”
Andrew Cuomo responded, “I’ve always been a soft guy. I am the love gov. I’m a cool dude in a loose mood, you know that. I just say, ‘Let it go, just go with the flow, baby.’ You know. You can’t control anything, so don’t even try.”
Grenell’s characterization of Cuomo stands in stark contrast to the Cuomo brothers’ affable public image. In one particular instance, Grenell accused Cuomo of launching into a “Trump-style tantrum” at a press conference after a reporter asked whether schools in New York City would be open the next day due to concerns about increased COVID-19 cases in the city.
“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 snapped back at the feckless reporter. “I don’t know if you were here, or you were paying attention.”
From there, Grenell wrote, “it devolved quickly into a hot screeching mess: ‘We did it already! That’s the law! An orange zone and a red zone! Follow the facts!’ … 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!”
What happened to “just go with the flow” there?
Grenell ripped Cuomo’s “self-congratulatory book” — entitled American Crisis — that was released “at what he calls ‘half-time’ in the crisis” as an “undignified victory lap by the facts-first persona that won him legitimate praise to begin with, underscoring the point that for Cuomo it was always more about presentation than substance.”
The former aide concluded:
The whole thing was already very Through the Looking Glass before the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced on Friday that they were awarding the governor an Emmy for his “television shows with characters, plot lines, and stories of success and failure.” Next he’ll be playing himself in an Aaron Sorkin movie, taking three points off the back end. Aside from having just barely survived the delusion that elevated a reality TV character to the presidency, we’re now giving a real-life governor an entertainment award for doing his actual job.