Just as allegations of misreporting COVD deaths were evaporating amid sexual abuse allegations (which also seem to be mysteriously evaporating with no repercussions), a new scandal concerning New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has appeared. Cuomo hates the Jewish celebration of the Biblical feast of Sukkoth.
“These people and their f***ing tree houses”
In an article on Cuomo’s political career, The New York Times Magazine magazine reported on Tuesday a disturbing comment by Cuomo. When he was running for the position of New York Attorney General in 2006, Cuomo was frustrated that his campaigning to Jewish groups was hampered by the observance of the Biblical holiday of Sukkoth (Feast of Tabernacles).
“These people and their f***ing tree houses,” Cuomo said to his team, according to The Times.
A spokesman representing Cuomo denied the comments by saying, “His two sisters married Jewish men, and he has the highest respect for Jewish traditions.”
The NYT article also related an incident in which Cuomo ridiculed a male staffer by using a transgender slur.
Cuomo and the Orthodox Jews
If this scandal sticks, it could seriously hurt the governor in any future attempts at reelection. Overall, in his bid for governor in 2014, Cuomo received about 67% of the vote in New York City but in predominantly Orthodox Jewish sections, he garnered over 80% of the vote. To reinforce this, he traveled to Israel and a photo from the trip taken at the Western Wall with Cuomo wearing a yarmulke was featured in his campaign.
Cuomo’s relationship with his Orthodox constituency has clearly suffered. During the pandemic, Cuomo used his executive powers to enforce restrictions and shutdowns of religious institutions that exceeded those placed on commercial establishments. The Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and Agudath Israel of America, an Orthodox Jewish organization, brought several cases against Cuomo. In a decision that was later copied in California, the Supreme Court ruled against Cuomo.
Cuomo is a dominant figure in the Democratic party as he grew up in the Governor’s when his father, Mario, served as the New York City Mayor. He also grew in Democratic stature after marrying Kerry Kennedy, the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, though they divorced in 2005. He has also been bolstered by reporting presented on CNN by his brother, Chris. It is, perhaps, due to these advantages that Cuomo has weathered the scandals that plagued him from his first day in office until now, his third term.
The scandals have become more serious of late. After being lauded as the paragon of leadership during the COVID crisis, even receiving an Emmy Award, it was revealed that the Cuomo administration undercounted COVID-19-related deaths at nursing homes by as much as 50%. Early on, in contravention of advisories from health experts, Cuomo issued an order requiring the admission of patients to nursing homes who tested positive for the coronavirus and barred testing prospective nursing home patients. A story by the Guardian revealed that Cuomo had received $1.5 million in campaign contributions from lobbyists for nursing homes.
That scandal was quickly followed by a string of ten women accusing Cuomo of sexual harassment.
Cuomo has frequently been criticized for crude comments and even used the “N’ word in a radio interview in 2019. While supporting Hillary Clinton in her 2008 run, Cuomo criticized Obama, her opponent, saying that “You can’t shuck and jive at a press conference.” The comment was considered racially insensitive.
Like President Biden, Cuomo is a Roman Catholic whose political positions on issues like abortion, homosexual marriage, and divorce, stand in stark contrast to the tenets of his faith.