Cuomo calls a sheriff who won’t enforce mask mandate a ‘dictator’
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) responded angrily Monday to sheriffs in the state who said they would not be enforcing COVID-19 restrictions that limit indoor gatherings, including during the upcoming holidays.
Sheriffs in four New York counties said last week on social media that they would not be enforcing the coronavirus rules, claiming their jurisdiction does not apply inside people’s homes and that the orders were not constitutionally defensible.
“This is an emotional time, political time. Everybody has their own strongly held opinion. Right. You have a strongly held opinion that says, ‘COVID is all an overreaction. It’s a hoax. I’m not wearing a mask. I’m not following these rules.’ You have sheriffs upstate who have said, ‘I’m not going to enforce the law,’” Cuomo said during a press briefing.
“I believe that law enforcement officer violates his or her constitutional duty. I don’t consider them a law enforcement officer. Because you don’t have the right to pick laws that you think you will enforce, and you don’t enforce laws that you don’t agree with. Right. That’s not a law enforcement officer. That’s a dictator,” he added.
“God bless you,” Cuomo added. “But don’t ask me for help.”
The governor said what happens in people’s homes is absolutely the government’s business.
“Laws apply in your home. Domestic violence applies in your home. Drug laws apply in your home. Yes, it does,” he said.
Pointing to case numbers rising ahead the holiday, Cuomo stressed that the actions of one person have the potential to endanger many others.
“You want to be able to act irresponsibly but then endanger the ambulance driver and endanger the nurse and endanger the doctor … because of your actions. It’s not like your actions only affect you,” he said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has strongly urged people to limit their holiday plans this year to only those within their immediate households. Celebrations should be small or even virtual to avoid traveling from multiple places to congregate in a crowded space.
Cuomo said Monday on Twitter that his own daughter will not be joining him for the holidays this year due to the health risk.
My daughter isn’t coming to Thanksgiving. She is out of state and it’s safer not to travel.
It’s hard. But I can’t think of a better gesture of love than to say, I’m making the tough choice to keep you & our family safe.
We may be physically apart but we’re spiritually together
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) November 23, 2020