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September 22, 2021
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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a press conference on November 24. Pool/WPIX

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo reversed course on his Thanksgiving plans after facing criticism for initially including his elderly mother.

Cuomo told WAMC’s radio host Alan Chartock on Monday that his mother, Matilda Cuomo, 89, was planning on traveling to join him in Albany, along with two of his daughters.

“My mom is gonna come up and two of my girls, is the current plan,” Cuomo said. 

However, the governor cautioned, “But the plans change … I have a lot of work to do between now and Thanksgiving.”

Later in the interview and during his news conference earlier in the day, Cuomo warned New Yorkers who plan on holding Thanksgiving celebrations as usual that it was dangerous.

“This is not a normal Thanksgiving, despite the commercialization,” Cuomo said during his Monday news conference, and told New Yorkers not to buy into advertisements that hyped images of large, familiar gatherings. 

The apparent dissonance caught the ire of some on Twitter, with New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, calling the governor “hypocritical.”

“Do as I say, not as I do,” Stefanik, a Republican, tweeted. “Family for me, but none for you.”

On Tuesday, senior adviser Rich Azzopardi told CNN that the governor’s plans had indeed changed.

“Given the current circumstances with Covid, he will have to work through Thanksgiving and will not be seeing them,” Azzopardi said.

Cuomo spent a good amount of time addressing his own family’s sadness and frustration over Thanksgiving during his Tuesday conference, say that he had explained to his mother multiple times why is was not safe to travel for the holiday.  

“I didn’t want to disappoint my mother,” Cuomo said. “Eight-nine years old, she’s thinking, ‘How many Thanksgivings do it get?’”

One of his daughters, who lives in Chicago, also had planned to visit for Thanksgiving, resulting in a tearful phone call where they debated how to travel safely during the pandemic but ultimately decided she should stay home.

“It’s hard, but sometimes hard is smart,” Cuomo said.