Blue checkmarks and Democrats took to Twitter on Thursday to condemn a call for violence against Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the people in his administration. The quote in question, however, was actually a call to violence against former President Donald Trump and his supporters from U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., that a Twitter troll account called “Cuomo Watch” satirically modified to say “Cuomo.”
“‘If you see anybody from the Cuomo Administration in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.’ -Maxine CuomoWatch,” the tweet reads.
Soon after the tweet was shared, prominent New York politicians, blue checkmarks, and Democrats in other states took to Twitter to condemn the call to action.
“This is appalling and dangerous. Encouraging violence must never be tolerated. Shame on whoever is behind this kind of garbage,” the speaker of the New York State Assembly wrote.
This is appalling and dangerous. Encouraging violence must never be tolerated. Shame on whoever is behind this kind of garbage. https://t.co/piPMVEOUWl
— Carl E. Heastie (@CarlHeastie) January 29, 2021
“This is beyond outrageous,” a state senator added in her retweet. “Two weeks ago we saw what happened when arsonists throw gas around. Twitter should ban this dude now!”
This is beyond outrageous. Two weeks ago we saw what happened when arsonists throw gas around. Twitter should ban this dude now! https://t.co/C23G87ThhU
— Senator Diane Savino (@dianesavino) January 29, 2021
“This is dangerous, reprehensible and has no place in any public discussion. Oh, and spare me the ‘someone else did it too’ excuse. Someone else saying a variation of this doesn’t change the fact that this is seeking to incite violence against a public official and their staff,” another assemblyman shared.
This is dangerous, reprehensible and has no place in any public discussion. Oh, and spare me the “someone else did it too” excuse. Someone else saying a variation of this doesn’t change the fact that this is seeking to incite violence against a public official and their staff.
— Ken Zebrowski (@kenzebrowski_ny) January 29, 2021
.@CuomoWatch We will not tolerate threats against public officials by radical extremists in this city or state. There is no room for violence or targeting against anyone, especially public servants. Not after what happened in D.C.
I will be alerting appropriate authorities. pic.twitter.com/lRGGAuq98o
— Gale A. Brewer (@galeabrewer) January 29, 2021
U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y., even spoke out, saying he was “appalled” by the call to action after living through the “insurrection against the US Congress.”
“We must all denounce in no uncertain terms any attempt at inciting political violence,” he shared in a now-deleted tweet.
This kind of dangerous rhetoric must be called out and condemned by all. Or else we risk repeating the horrendous events of Jan 6th.
As leaders, especially in a time of such great challenge, it’s incumbent on all of us to appeal to the “better angels of our nature” https://t.co/yaDRQNTGwT
— Pat Ryan 🇺🇸 (@PatRyanUC) January 29, 2021
Cuomo’s senior adviser Rich Azzopardi also spread the misinformation, retweeting people’s condemnations and even accusing Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., and her staff, without presenting evidence, of condoning violence against the governor.
My understanding from someone who directly interacted with them is that this anonymous gutless wonder account is run by @EliseStefanik’s campaign team Brendan Quinn & Matt Masterson. You coddled treason. You condone more violence Elise? https://t.co/beI3onnVwX
— Rich Azzopardi (@RichAzzopardi) January 29, 2021
When confronted about the legitimacy of the tweet and the true source of the quote, the legislators either deleted their tweets or attempted to defend their double-standard on political violence.
“I see what they did,” wrote state Sen. Diane Savino, “but that was then and this is now, and 4 years of Trump has led to words becoming weapons. We can’t just ignore them anymore, people take them as a call to violent actions.”
The hypocrisy is stunning: pic.twitter.com/HxiqjUTOZ4
— Eddie Zipperer (@EddieZipperer) January 29, 2021
Cuomo’s office did not respond to The Federalist’s request for clarification on whether they still condemn the comments now that they know who originally made them. Instead, in his press conference on Friday, Cuomo blamed the internet and the troll who created the post.
“When you see the ugliness being fomented for selfish political reasons, everyone should condemn it. … We all know who spreads the ugliness on the Internet,” Cuomo says.
The context here is a Twitter account co-opted a quote from Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters about Trump staffers, directing it at Cuomo aides. The tweet was condemned by Democratic elected officials in New York last night
— Nick Reisman (@NickReisman) January 29, 2021
Many Democrats have a history of calling for violence against Trump and his supporters including Cuomo, who recently said that he “would’ve decked” Trump if he weren’t a governor.
The outrage over the modified quote also follows a report from the New York attorney general’s office that found that Cuomo and his administration lied about the number of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes following his policy that sent infected patients into care facilities during the pandemic.