ANDREW Cuomo's testy exchange with reporters over New York City school closings on Wednesday prompted comparisons to President Donald Trump and his treatment of the media.
The New York governor got into a shouting match with journalists in Albany as he fielded questions about a potential citywide school shutdown due to the city's rising coronavirus infections.
The back-and-forth began when Wall Street Journal reporter Jimmy Vielkind needled Cuomo about whether he'd overrule a decision by city officials to close schools.
"What are you talking about? 'You're now going to override,' we did it already! That's the law!" Cuomo shouted. "An orange zone and a red zone, follow the facts!"
"I'm still confused," Vielkind replied.
"Then you're confused!" the governor shouted back.
"I'm confused and parents are still confused as well," Vielkind asserted.
"No, they're not confused. You're confused," Cuomo told him. "Read the law and you won't be confused."
When called out by another reporter for dodging questions about whether schools would be open "tomorrow," Cuomo said: "Well, I don’t really care what you think.
"Of course, you agree with him because you’re in the same business with him."
The governor eventually acknowledged that public schools in the Big Apple would shut down beginning on Thursday – moments after Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the closures.
Cuomo's hostile exchange with the media sparked backlash on social media, where some users compared his treatment of reporters to Trump's notoriously harsh attitude.
"For someone who presided over so many deaths, especially so many avoidable deaths in nursing homes!, Governor Cuomo should perhaps be a little less overconfident, little less mocking, and a little less aggressive in Covid (!) briefings with the media," said MSNBC analyst Mehdi Hasan.
"That’s some Trumpian treatment of a reporter asking a legitimate and fair question, @NYGovCuomo," said Politico reporter Andrew Disiderio.
"Cuomo is being incredibly condescending and rude for someone who wrote a book about how well he managed the pandemic before it was over," wrote BuzzFeed News Deputy Director David Mack.
As Cuomo lost his temper, de Blasio and the New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said on Wednesday that the nation's largest public school system will stop in-person learning on November 19.
The city had said since summer that school buildings would close if three percent of all the coronavirus tests performed citywide over a seven-day period came back positive.
As the rate neared that point last week, de Blasio advised parents to prepare for a possible shutdown within days.
The mayor said the rate has now passed that mark.
The city’s more than 1million public school students will now be taught entirely online, as most already are.
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