During a Wednesday press briefing, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) dismissed concerns expressed by protesters demanding a state lockdown on “non-essential” businesses lifted so they could return to work. Instead, he suggested they simply go out and get an “essential” job if they wanted to be productive and support their families.
In the view of University of Tennessee law professor and author Glenn Reynolds, however, Cuomo’s remark showed just how “out-of-touch” he and other elitist politicians truly are regarding the plight suffered by their constituents, Fox News reported.
Cuomo’s controversial take
Reynolds’ retort to Gov. Cuomo came on Thursday during a discussion on Fox & Friends with co-host Brian Kilmeade, who played a clip of Cuomo’s response to a reporter on Wednesday relating to the concerns of protesters outside the New York state capital in Albany.
“By the way — if you want to go to work, go take the job as an essential worker. Do it tomorrow,” Cuomo said to the reporter, according to a separate report from Fox.
Pressed by the reporter that, since so many businesses were closed, very few are actually hiring, Cuomo dismissed that notion as well. “No, there are people hiring,” Cuomo reportedly replied. “You can get a job as an essential worker, so now you can go to work and you can be an essential worker and you’re not going to kill anyone.”
Reynolds slams elitist double standard
Asked to react to Cuomo’s comments, Reynolds called them “super insensitive and stupid,” according to Fox. “I mean, ‘let them eat essential jobs,’ right? That’s basically his line,” he added, according to the network.
The law professor went on: “Look, I have friends in New York who are sending me pictures of lines at soup kitchens and food pantries and I don’t think those people are going to be able to get jobs as essential workers.
“And, what if you have got a family business that you maintain that’s in trouble now? You know, going and taking a job as a flagman on a highway construction project is not going to save your family business,” he added.
Reynolds also pointed to the clear “double standard” evidenced by the governor’s brother, CNN host Chris Cuomo, allegedly breaking his quarantine on Easter Sunday, as well as the Democratic mayor of Chicago getting her hair done while all salons were closed to the general public, as was reported by The Hill.
“Again, if your leaders don’t act like leaders, if they act entitled and spoiled, people aren’t going to take them seriously and they’re not going to do what they’re asked to do,” Reynolds told Fox & Friends. “And, that’s a failure of leadership, and it doesn’t do any good to try to blame people for not acting the way you want them to if you yourself don’t have the necessary self-control and self-discipline to be an effective leader.”
Every job is essential
Gov. Cuomo’s “get a job as an essential worker” line certainly does have an air of Marie Antoinette’s “Let them eat cake” attitude from the French Revolution, and that is precisely the sort of dismissive elitism that generally doesn’t play well with the average American.
To the man or woman simply trying to keep a roof over their kids’ heads or put food on the table, every job is an “essential” job — and they don’t tend to look kindly on politicians who remain pampered and well-paid while rendering judgments on whether the way they make a living is sufficiently important.