‘Like just about everything BuzzFeed writes it is wildly taken out of context, twisted and shrouded with bias…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was caught in a blatant lie Thursday, claiming on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that a leaked Homeland Security memo expressly sought to “punish” New York for refusing to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
The memo said nothing about plans to “punish” the Empire State, as Cuomo claimed.
The interview came as Cuomo prepares to meet with President Donald Trump to discuss DHS’s dialing back of services in the Trusted Traveler Program.
It coincided with recently implemented “green-light” laws in New York that permit illegal immigrants to receive driver’s licenses, while blocking that information from being shared with federal agencies such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
During the appearance, Cuomo repeatedly used the word “punish” in reference to the DHS memo.
“There is a memo that leaked from the Department of Homeland Security that was published by BuzzFeed which says exactly that, and the Department of Homeland Security said it is their memo,” Cuomo said.
“It said we have to punish states that don’t agree with us,” he continued. “‘Punish’ is their word (emphasis added)—and this is what happens when an administration believes they’re above the law.”
Cuomo went on in a desperate attempt to link his New York conspiracy theory with the Ukraine conspiracy theories, recently promoted by House Democrats, for which Trump was acquitted of abuse of power last week following a Senate impeachment trial.
“This is what happened with Ukraine, this is what happened with [Lt. Col. Alexander] Vindman, this is what happened with Roger Stone,” Cuomo claimed, suggesting Trump was unduly using his influence in each case to settle personal scores. “Their politics come first, and law means nothing.”
Notwithstanding Cuomo’s politically motivated efforts to refuse cooperation with immigration authorities in order to benefit Democrats in the ballot box, the frequent Trump nemesis also had an even bigger problem: There was no mention of the word “punish” in the DHS memo, according to the agency and the BuzzFeed piece’s author.
BuzzFeed’s Hamed Aleaziz acknowledged in a Twitter exchange with DHS spokesperson Heather Swift that his use of the word was more of an editorial flourish than actual fact.
Nowhere in the story does it say we quoted “punish” from a DHS memo — it is a summarization of the explanations listed out by a DHS official for each policy option.
— Hamed Aleaziz (@Haleaziz) February 13, 2020
DHS Assistant Press Secretary Harry Fones told Liberty Headlines that the embellishment was par for the course with BuzzFeed, a site best known for its clickbait quizzes and for publishing the now-debunked Steele Dossier.
“Like just about everything BuzzFeed writes it is wildly taken out of context, twisted and shrouded with bias,” Fones said. “I’d encourage reporters to instead read what the Secretary actually did and the statute it responds to.”