If you thought New York Gov. Andrew was a piece of work, just look at his staff.
A senior adviser to the governor called three young female state lawmakers “fucking idiots” on Wednesday, the New York Times reported. The insult was in response to a press conference the women held criticizing Cuomo for reportedly hosting a $25,000-ticket fundraiser earlier this month during the state’s budget season, which wasn’t mentioned on Cuomo’s public schedule.
The women, freshman state Sens. Alessandra Biaggi and Jessica Ramos and second-term Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou—all Democrats, like Cuomo—said they were outraged at Cuomo’s fundraiser amid a push to end the financial influence of state politics. Biaggi called the fundraiser “hypocritical” and “exactly what we have come to Albany to change.”
“Show me another example at another state where there is a governor, during the budget process, raising $25,000 a ticket,” she continued.
In response, Cuomo’s staff was very, very pissed. From the Times, emphasis mine:
Mr. Cuomo’s office quickly fired back. Richard Azzopardi, a senior adviser to the governor, walked through the Capitol’s press office excoriating the three women as “[expletive] idiots.” When a reporter asked if that comment was on the record, Mr. Azzopardi did not hesitate. “Yeah.”
He pointed out that Ms. Ramos herself had hosted a fund-raiser in Albany on March 6, for between $250 and $5,000 per person. Melissa DeRosa, the governor’s top aide, suggested on Twitter on Thursday that Ms. Biaggi had lied when she said she had not held any fund-raisers during the budget season, sharing an invitation to a fund-raiser for Ms. Biaggi on Feb. 28. Admission ranged from $250 to $2,500.
“Hypocrisy is one thing,” Ms. DeRosa wrote. “Willful lying is another.”
The Times mentions that Ramos acknowledged that she held a fundraiser during the budget season but that she returned donations from people who didn’t share her political beliefs. She also said she’d operate under the current fundraising rules, but supports a ban on such events during the budget season, which the Times also pointed out to be similar defense of Cuomo’s: that he’s just “liv[ing] within the campaign finance system.”
For the record, it does sound like Cuomo’s fundraiser wasn’t all that innocent compared to these $2,50- and $5,000-max events Cuomo’s staff scrutinized. From the Times again, on the article reporting on Cuomo’s event:
The article, published hours before the women’s news conference, described how lobbyists and business executives flocked to the event at the St. Regis Hotel in Manhattan for face time with him as well as his budget director, Robert Mujica, who oversees the entire budget negotiation process.
Alas, as evidenced by the female lawmakers’ press conference in the first place, there are plenty of ways to characterize hypocrisy without calling your targets “fucking idiots.” Then again, maybe this is just another example of the innovation coming from the administration of Amazon Cuomo.