Gov. Cuomo becomes irate, yells at reporters during press conference on COVID-19

by Peter Heck · Nov 19th, 2020 8:34 am
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Last Updated Nov 19th, 2020 at 3:51 pm

During a Wednesday press conference on the coronavirus, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo lost his composure, shouting at reporters who were questioning him about the state's school closing guidelines.

Wall Street Journal reporter Jimmy Vielkind was the first to draw the ire of Cuomo, after he asked the status of the New York City schools and expressed that parents were frustrated and confused by the significant number of rules, thresholds, guidelines, and policies.

"First of all, let's try not to be obnoxious and offensive in your tone because you're 100% wrong," Cuomo snapped back, escalating into a shout. "Read the law and you won't be confused. The schools are open by state law."

When New York Times reporter Jesse McKinley backed up Vielkind by noting that asking for clarification on behalf of confused parents "wasn't obnoxious at all," Cuomo turned his indignation towards him.

"Well, I don't really care what you think," Cuomo said. "Of course you agree with him because you're in the same business as him."

At the conclusion of the briefing, one of the reporters had to inform Cuomo that New York City schools would, in fact, be closed Thursday due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio had not yet informed Cuomo of that reality since he was running five hours late to his own coronavirus briefing.

Cuomo seemed confused at first, but then attempted to downplay the seriousness of the decision. This prompted a third unidentified reporter to push Cuomo for a reaction.

"Your micro-cluster strategy is not working at this point to curb the statewide spread," the reporter challenged. "What do you have to say about that?"

Cuomo shot back that he was not interested in journalists' "characterizations" but rather "fact." The governor, who has been selling his own book that paints his administration's handling of the initial COVID-19 spread in an heroic light, said that success is actually "how you're doing relative to everybody else."

To question that, Cuomo asserted, is to "demean" New Yorkers.


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