Just days after one of New York’s top black politicians accused Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo of racism and sexism in his dealings with her, one of the governor’s major political donors insisted that she had been worse for black people than the Ku Klux Klan.
In a now-deleted Facebook post, Daniel Loeb—a billionaire hedge fund manager and Cuomo backer, who is white—claimed that Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who leads the Democrats in the State Senate, and fellow Democratic lawmakers were “hypocrites [...] who pay fealty to powerful union thugs and bosses [and] do more damage to people of color than anyone who has ever donned a hood” on the issue of education.
Cuomo is a fervent backer of charter schools (and a top recipient of charter school donations) who has waged high-profile battles with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and other Democrats, including Stewart-Cousins, over the issue.
Loeb’s comments came after a recent report in the New York Times described a charged encounter between Stewart-Cousins and Cuomo. From the Times:
Reunification was the agenda of a strategy session last month in Mr. Cuomo’s Midtown Manhattan office, attended by nearly two dozen Democratic state senators. When the discussion turned to how to best win elections, Mr. Cuomo suggested to the assembled lawmakers — many of them from New York City — that the leader of eight breakaway Democrats, Senator Jeffrey D. Klein, had a better understanding of the suburbs than they had.
That was all Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Senate minority leader who represents the suburbs of Westchester County, needed to hear.
“You look at me, Mr. Governor, but you don’t see me. You see my black skin and a woman, but you don’t realize I am a suburban legislator,” Ms. Stewart-Cousins said, according to the accounts of five people who were in the room. “Jeff Klein doesn’t represent the suburbs,” she said. “I do.”
Mr. Cuomo reacted in stunned silence.
In a statement, Loeb—who has supported both Democratic and Republican candidates, and reportedly donated approximately $170,000 to Gov. Cuomo—apologized for the incendiary post.
“I regret the language I used in expressing my passion for educational choice,” Loeb wrote. “I apologize to Senator Stewart-Cousins and anyone I offended. I have taken down the post from Facebook.”