New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Arizona recount to show Trump's loss by even wider margin Former co-worker accuses Chris Cuomo of sexual harassment in NYT essay NY health chief criticized over state's COVID-19 response resigns MORE is arguably the biggest star in the Democratic Party. And for several months at the beginning of the pandemic, he received kudos far and wide from the left and right and everyone in between for his coronavirus task force briefings, to the point that some speculated he would replace Joe Biden as the party’s presidential nominee.
But over the past month or so, Cuomo has committed some serious missteps both rhetorically and with his actions. The most egregious occurred shortly before the election when the governor recklessly sowed serious doubt in the then-impending COVID-19 vaccine in an effort to score cheap political points against President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 committee chair says panel will issue a 'good number' of additional subpoenas Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Pentagon officials prepare for grilling Biden nominates head of Africa CDC to lead global AIDS response MORE.
"I don't believe the American people are that confident," Cuomo told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “Good Morning America” in late October. "I think it's going to be a very skeptical American public about taking the vaccine, and they should be.”
Cuomo also lamented – and this took some real chutzpah – that the life-saving vaccines came too early.
"The good news is the Pfizer tests look good and we’ll have a vaccine shortly. The bad news is that it’s about two months before Joe Biden takes over and that means this administration is going to be implementing a vaccine plan,” Cuomo told Stephanopoulos.
In other words, it would be much better if the millions who will be vaccinated across the country had to wait during an unprecedented spike in cases and deaths until after Biden's presidential inauguration on January 20.
And in a related story, recent polls suggest that one-third of Americans won't take the vaccine. Vaccine doubters such as Cuomo or President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenFord to bolster electric vehicle production in multi-billion dollar push Protesters demonstrate outside Manchin's houseboat over opposition to reconciliation package Alabama eyes using pandemic relief funds on prison system MORE and Vice President-elect Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisNavarro rips 'dimwit' Trump Jr. on 'The View' for COVID-19 and obesity tweet Do progressives prefer Trump to compromise? Biden, Harris push big lie about Border Patrol MORE, who also expressed doubt during the campaign, haven't helped in getting that number down.
A few weeks later, it was announced that Cuomo would receive an Emmy Award for his performance during those New York coronavirus briefings.
Some items to unpack here:
(A) No awards should be handed out to any politician during a pandemic that has killed more than 300,000 Americans.
(B) The award should particularly not go to the governor of the state that had far and away the most deaths in the country, even twice as many as Florida, which has a larger and older population. Cuomo, by his order, also sent thousands of COVID-positive patients back into nursing homes, killing thousands while never apologizing for it or allowing an independent investigation into the matter.
(C) Cuomo, who released an attaboy book about how great his handling of COVID was as a second wave began to consume the Empire State and the country, should have declined the award given how bad the situation was getting again. Endzone dances and award speeches while hospitals are filling up is never a good look.
Fast forward to this week, when the governor, who has always touted following science and data, permanently shut down indoor eating at the remaining restaurants that haven't already closed. Note: More than 1,000 restaurants have already closed in New York City alone. Hundreds more will close in the next few weeks with almost no revenue coming in as outdoor dining has become almost impossible to pull off when below freezing at night. Also note: In-home gatherings account for 74 percent of new COVID cases, while just 1.3 percent come from bars and restaurants.
So much for the science.
You would think that Cuomo – seeing the protests in Times Square from hundreds of restaurant owners – would avoid any political events that benefit him while so many of his residents lose their jobs and businesses during the holiday season.
You thought wrong.
Instead, Cuomo is hosting a virtual birthday fundraiser on Thursday night. And for up to $10,000, you can join via video to take part in the fun that includes ABC's Whoopi GoldbergWhoopi GoldbergBill Maher hits back at Whoopi Goldberg over 'Black national anthem' Whoopi Goldberg signs four-year deal with ABC to stay on 'The View' 'The View' plans series of conservative women as temporary McCain replacements MORE and actors Ben Stiller and Rosie Perez. Tone deaf doesn't begin to describe how horrible this looks.
Also this week, Cuomo was accused by a former aide of sexual harassment "for years," a charge he denies.
Whether this happened or not is strictly in the “he-said, she-said” phase. But most of the media is making sure the story has no legs, because after it broke Sunday, the ABC, NBC and CBS evening newscasts haven't covered it for three straight nights. CNN also isn't touching it on air or online for obvious reasons.
But let's say Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisHillicon Valley — Presented by Ericsson — Instagram 'pausing' kid-targeted plan DeSantis orders Florida official to investigate Facebook for 'alleged election interference' America isn't first — it's far behind — and studies point to Republicans MORE (R-Fla.) were accused in the same manner. Do you doubt those four networks would be all-in on the story?
What a run the governor is on lately: Sowing doubt in the vaccines, closing restaurants while accepting awards and hosting fundraisers.
But as 2020 turns to 2021, Andrew Cuomo is proving to be just another politician untethered from reality.
Joe Concha is a media and politics columnist for The Hill.