New York governor reverses course on household Thanksgiving plans after backlash

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Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York, speaks during a news conference on Nov. 24. Pool / WPIX

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo reversed the course of his Thanksgiving plans after being criticized for initially including his elderly mother.

Cuomo told WAMC radio host Alan Chartock on Monday that his mother, Matilda Cuomo, 89, was planning to travel to Albany with two of his daughters.

“My mother will be coming and two of my girls is the current plan,” said Cuomo.

However, the governor warned: “But plans are changing … I still have a lot to do before Thanksgiving.”

Later in the interview and during his press conference earlier in the day, Cuomo warned New Yorkers who want to hold Thanksgiving celebrations as usual that it was dangerous.

“Despite the commercialization, this is not your normal Thanksgiving Day,” Cuomo said during his press conference on Monday, urging New Yorkers not to buy into ads that played up images of large, intimate gatherings.

The apparent dissonance caught the anger of some on Twitter when New York MP Elise Stefanik described the governor as “hypocritical”.

“Do what I say, not like me,” tweeted the Republican Stefanik. “Family for me, but none for you.”

On Tuesday, senior adviser Rich Azzopardi told CNN that the governor’s plans had indeed changed.

“Given the current circumstances with Covid, he has to work through Thanksgiving and will not see them,” Azzopardi said.

Cuomo spent a lot of time addressing his own family’s sadness and frustration over Thanksgiving during his Tuesday conference. He explained to his mother several times why it was not safe to travel on vacation.

“I didn’t mean to disappoint my mother,” said Cuomo. “Eighty-nine years old, she thinks, ‘How many Thanksgivings is it getting?'”

One of his daughters, who lives in Chicago, had also planned a Thanksgiving visit, which resulted in a tearful phone call asking them to consider how to travel safely during the pandemic, but ultimately decided that she should stay home.

“It’s hard, but sometimes it’s smart,” said Cuomo.

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