Chris Cuomo has lost it over a few cans of Goya beans. During his Wednesday night segment, the CNN host went off on the Trump family for promoting Goya Foods in the middle of a public health crisis that the White House has failed to adequately address. Rather than keeping the country shut down and implementing widespread COVID testing and contact tracing, the president and his daughter (and White House senior advisor), Ivanka, have been busy posting photos of themselves on social media promoting Goya products. The president even went so far as to display several cans of beans on his desk in the Oval Office. No wonder Cuomo asked the question everyone is thinking: “In the middle of a pandemic, they’re selling beans?”
“You tell me how a president in the middle of a pandemic has got time for this bullshit,” Cuomo continued. “Are you kidding me?” He was also upset at the way that Trump was disrespecting all elements of his office — including the famed presidential Resolute desk, which has been used by presidents from John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama. But it seems like only Trump has used it as a platform for selling canned beans. As Cuomo said, “This is what he’s resolute about. Pandemic priorities.”
The Trump family's decision to promote Goya in the middle of a pandemic came after the company's CEO Robert Unanue appeared at a press conference in the White House Rose Garden last week to praise the president for his leadership. Unanue’s appearance resulted in backlash, with calls to boycott Goya trending on Twitter.
Cuomo's rage over Beangate is fully justified — even if the Trumps weren't prioritizing Goya's financial health over the literal health of millions of people, they would also be abusing their positions of power by promoting a private company. But, Cuomo's rage also feels, if not performative, at least very selective. After all, he exhibited none of that anger in his many interviews with his brother, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has also faced serious criticism over his handling of the pandemic. Where was the CNN host's rage after ProPublica reported that at least 6,500 nursing home residents died of COVID-19 following the governor's policy to send infected hospital patients to nursing homes across the state?
While a report released by the Cuomo administration claimed that the thousands of deaths at 58 nursing homes across the state were due to infected workers, rather than the potentially contagious COVID patients being housed there, there are many other ways in which the governor's handling of the pandemic's early stages has been criticized. Refinery29 has reached out to the governor’s office for comment.
While it's obviously complicated for Chris Cuomo to direct pointed questions to his literal brother on-air, there's a pretty simple solution: If Chris can't do it, then another CNN anchor should ask those questions of Gov. Cuomo. Because they deserve answers just as much as questions about Beangate do.
Horrifying as Trump's Goya #ad content is — particularly as COVID-19 death rates rise— let's not forget that Gov. Cuomo has also recently spent his days hosting conferences to show off his latest Science Fair projects and pandemic posters, even as there's no clear plan about what will happen with New York schools this fall. So while it's clear that Chris Cuomo is just about ready to throw President Trump off the infamous "boyfriend cliff," the ethical questions surrounding COVID-19 leadership should undoubtedly be asked of his own brother, too.