New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) let it slip on Monday that he had invited his elderly mother and two of his daughters to dine with him on Thanksgiving Day, sparking backlash and accusations of hypocrisy against the Democrat who has spent weeks telling his constituents to skip family gatherings for the holiday.
Hours later, a Cuomo staffer said the dinner was off, but “don’t tell his mom.”
The New York Times noted that Cuomo has been “preaching a message of sacrifice during the holidays” and warning New Yorkers against holiday gatherings, reporting: “So it was surprising when Mr. Cuomo announced on Monday afternoon that he had invited his 89-year-old mother, Matilda, and two of his daughters to celebrate a very Cuomo Thanksgiving with him this week in Albany.”
“The story is, my mom is going to come up and two of my girls,” the governor told WAMC-FM. “But the plans change. But that’s my plan.”
His admission was met with fury online, and prompted statements of condemnation from New York Republicans.
Rep. Elise Stefanik tweeted, “This is one of the many reasons why Cuomo is the WORST Governor in America. His arrogance and hypocrisy knows no bounds. Do as I say, not as I do. Rules for thee, but not for me. Family for me, but none for you. A despised, hypocritical, tyrannical, hubris-laden Governor.”
New York City Councilman Joe Borelli (R) told the New York Post, “The governor lives in an alternate reality.”
Borelli added, “Four family members, plus his police detail, cooks, caterers, cleaners, assistants and staff. If these outsiders can come to the governor’s mansion for Thanksgiving, as they do on a daily basis, in and out, then it’s quite another thing to tell New Yorkers their Aunt Tilly cannot.”
Within a few hours, however, a Cuomo aide told Business Insider the Cuomo family’s Thanksgiving plans had changed.
“As the Governor said, ‘The story is my mom is going to come up and two of my girls is the current plan, but the plans change. That’s my plan. I’m going to work — I’ve got a lot of work to do between now and Thanksgiving,’” senior Cuomo adviser Rich Azzopardi told the outlet. “And given the current circumstances with COVID, he will have to work through Thanksgiving and will not be seeing them.”
Azzopardi added, “Don’t tell his mom — she doesn’t know yet.”