McEnany slams Gov. Cuomo on religious gatherings, other high-profile Dems for violating COVID-19 guidelines
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Wednesday slammed Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) regarding his restrictions on the size of religious gatherings recently being struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as numerous high-profile Democrats for violating COVID-19 guidelines.
McEnany, at the start of Wednesday afternoon’s White House press briefing, walked up to the podium and immediately opened with a scathing attack on multiple high-ranking Democrats for disobeying COVID-19 restrictions.
“The United States Constitution matters even during a pandemic,” she said.
Both screens flanking her in the background then, on a dime, displayed a picture of Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) maskless at a sizable indoor dinner party, which violated the COVID-19 restrictions he had implemented in his state. The California governor got in hot water over this incident last month and had to publicly apologize for it, saying that attending the party was a “bad mistake.”
Images and videos of other Democrats violating guidelines then began to play on the screens on a loop as McEnany went on speaking.
“While Democrat politicians seek to impose draconian restrictions against their citizens,” McEnany said, adding, “this past week the Supreme Court of the United States had their say on New York State’s capacity restrictions, which restricted the number of attendees allowed in places of worship but not other government-deemed essential businesses.”
Over the past few months, COVID-19 cases have been surging across the country, recently pushing the total number of deaths in the United States past 270,000 and the amount of virus cases beyond 13 million, according to Johns Hopkins University.
In particular, New York City and other parts of the state have been seeing a dramatic rise in the number of cases, which spurred Cuomo back in October to begin implementing tougher restrictions in certain “red zones” on schools and religious gatherings among other measures. Many of these red zones in Queens and Brooklyn were areas home to large Orthodox Jewish communities, and many of them responded to these restrictions with protests.
McEnany then praised the Supreme Court’s 5-to-4 decision to reject Cuomo’s restrictions and quoted a portion of what Justice Neil Gorsuch said in the ruling: “It is time—past time—to make plain that, while the pandemic poses many grave challenges, there is no world in which the Constitution tolerates color-coded executive edicts that reopen liquor stores and bike shops but shutter churches, synagogues, and mosques.”
Following this, McEnany turned her attention to the screens behind her and said, “Behind me you will see displayed images of Democrat hypocrisy playing on loop.”
She then listed the publicized incidents on the screens, some of which included the aforementioned Newsom incident, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot celebrating President-elect Joe Biden’s victory on a crowded street the weekend after Election Day, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at an indoor appointment at a California hair salon back in late August when the state only allowed outdoor appointments.
“Quite clearly, these Democrats do not follow their own edicts,” McEnany said after listing the incidents on the screens. “They act in a way that their own citizens are barred from acting.”
Then shifting back to the Supreme Court’s ruling, McEnany criticized Cuomo’s response to it, saying, “Gov. Cuomo’s decision to impose restrictions on the size of religious gatherings was rebuked by the highest court in the land. But what was Cuomo’s response? Instead of showing deference to the Constitution, he attacked the legitimacy of the court.”
“Gov. Cuomo said this: ‘You have a different court and I think that was the statement that the court was making. We know who he appointed to the court, we know their ideology,’” she said.
“Well, in fact, the ideology of those on the Supreme Court who made the decision to support the First Amendment are in favor of freedom [and] the Constitution that survives even during a pandemic,” she said in response to Cuomo’s statement.
Furthermore, McEnany went on to tie this statement and the incidents displayed on the screens together to claim that Democrats are hypocrites who primarily seek control when it comes to COVID-19 restrictions.
“This statement from Gov. Cuomo strikes at the heart of the issue: Democrats seek control,” she said. “These images behind me make clear Democrats’ mindset: rules for thee but not for me.”
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.