It goes without saying that epically bad hot takes are the norm rather than the exception in politics, whether they come from politicians themselves or from their staunchest supporters.
But in this writer’s humble opinion, one hot take in particular from a senior aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week – and the timing of it, especially – could easily be considered a contender for the “Worst Hot Take Ever” award, if such a “prize” actually existed.
It all started after New York Daily News columnist Linda Stasi penned a column in the paper Monday essentially arguing that the numerous sexual harassment allegations against Gov. Cuomo are a distraction from his supposedly magnificent pandemic leadership:
Despite all of this, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said he should step down, and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie stopped just short of saying it. Both Democrats suggested that the sexual harassment allegations are distracting him from the business of running the state. Ever notice how, with sexual misconduct allegations, Democrats seem to immediately want to destroy the man and Republicans seem to immediately want to destroy the woman? What happened to waiting to condemn until all investigations have been done?
Distractions? This is a guy who has steered us through the worst of times by keeping laser-focused on the task at hand. The pandemic is a distraction, as are the deaths of nearly 48,000 New Yorkers; the loss of billions in revenue; businesses, schools, cultural and arts venues closing, and the accompanying loss of tourism.
In the piece, Stasi also got around to the real reason she believes everyone should rally around Cuomo despite the sexual harassment claims: because he stood up to the Evil Orange Man:
He has shown us he can multi-task as he continues to deal with all of the overwhelming horrors that have beset us as a state. Yes, he’s been a bully. But damn — it took a bully to deal with a bully. Remember, he was one of the few governors who managed to stand up to the biggest bully in the country, former President Donald Trump when he was threatening to withhold emergency aid to what he deemed poorly run states — with Democratic governors.
Like any good apologist would do, Stasi – while calling for the investigation to play out – boiled down the sexual harassment allegations to cultural differences because Cuomo, like her, is Italian-American and they like to hug and kiss people and stuff:
I’m not saying that these allegations aren’t real, and that the governor never figured out that in this day, that a boss just can’t go around hugging and kissing people — no matter how Italian he is. I’m a hugging and kissing Italian-American myself.
Meantime, and almost ridiculously, the pols calling for his head have themselves become distracted by the hugging-kissing scandal.
Predictably, Stasi did not share the same view on letting investigations play out when sexual assault allegations were made against Brett Kavanaugh:
And how. pic.twitter.com/NWvLkYB03z
— David Edward™ (@_David_Edward) March 9, 2021
But while Stasi’s column was indeed stunningly hypocritical, what was inarguably worse was Gov. Cuomo’s longtime secretary and senior aide Melissa DeRosa not merely retweeting someone else’s tweet of the story but posting the link to it herself:
We were right to laud Cuomo: Don’t let scandals distract from pandemic competence https://t.co/Nlab2aQIql
— Melissa DeRosa (@melissadderosa) March 9, 2021
Twitter users were quick to point out how “pandemic competence” was in short supply in New York last year:
Pandemic competence? That's a funny way to spell "acted as the Grim Reaper for thousands of elderly by forcing nursing homes to take Covid-infected patients". Maybe go back to elementary school and relearn the alphabet.
— Physics Geek (@physicsgeek) March 9, 2021
Not only that, but imagine being a senior staff member of Cuomo’s administration and tweeting that out on the same day a 6th accuser stepped forward:
This tweet was sent out a day after the governors office learned about the sixth accuser, who claims @NYGovCuomo touched her inappropriately in the governors mansion late last year. https://t.co/aXUwBuhBMj
— Joe Borelli (@JoeBorelliNYC) March 9, 2021
A sixth woman has come forward and leveled allegations of sexual harassment or inappropriate conduct against Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, and a supervisor in the Executive Chamber recently became aware the woman had alleged that the governor inappropriately touched her late last year during an encounter at the governor’s mansion, where she had been summoned to do work.
An official close to the matter on Tuesday confirmed to the Times Union that the new allegation had been made. The governor’s office learned of the matter on Monday, an aide said.
DeRosa was also the Cuomo official who admitted the administration deliberately withheld nursing home data from state lawmakers in order to dodge any potential investigation by Trump’s DOJ.
Not only was DeRosa’s hot take not a good one to post on any day of the week, but it was especially bad considering she posted it after the Governor’s office was made aware of the sixth accuser’s claims.
I’m not sure which is worse from a PR perspective; this, or Cuomo’s callous “who cares where they died?” comments from last month in response to a reporter’s question about the nursing home scandal. But one thing I am sure of is that all of this could not be happening to a more deserving individual.
Remember, Cuomo himself was not willing to give Kavanaugh the benefit of due process during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings in 2018. So why should the people of New York be willing to make an exception for Cuomo?