New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in hot water for allegedly undercounting New York state nursing home deaths. Here’s what both sides are saying. To have stories like this and more delivered directly to your inbox, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.
Justine Coleman of The Hill reports: “New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Monday defended his administration’s pandemic response while accepting some fault himself, as scrutiny intensifies over the state’s handling of COVID-19 nursing home deaths after building for months among congressional Republicans. Now, emotions run even higher following a report from Attorney General Letitia James (D) that concluded the state undercounted its nursing home deaths by about 50 percent by excluding those who died while in hospitals.” Here’s what both sides are saying and why this story matters:
On The Right
It’s hard to tell whether the right is more outraged by Governor Cuomo’s cover-up of senior home deaths or by the refusal of his brother, Chris Cuomo, and CNN to report on the matter.
Democratic Attorney General Letitia James released a report in late January disclosing that Cuomo had undercounted nursing home deaths by 50% or about 6,300. Greg Gutfeld writes for Fox News that if any other governor admitted to “covering up rest home deaths,” they would be “out of office,” but since the New York Governor has “a brother at CNN,” he is protected by the national media. Gutfeld cites the New York Governor’s particularly damning and brazen tweet deflecting criticism just a few weeks ago: “We’re below the national average in number of deaths in nursing homes. But who cares, 33[%], 28[%] died in a hospital, died in a nursing home. They died.”
Elsewhere on Fox News, Nikolas Lanum outlined how “New York Republican Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro called Monday for impeachment proceedings and a criminal investigation to be launched against Cuomo over the alleged cover-up of nursing home deaths under his administration.” Molinaro said: “We’ve known all along that this is the most corrupted and least transparent administration in America… We now know it’s also the deadliest.”
As Michael Goodwin notes in The New York Post, “Cuomo still accepts zero responsibility for the 15,000 deaths in nursing homes and similar facilities. His only feint toward self-criticism is that he didn’t get information out fast enough.” Goodwin elaborates: “He also continues to distort the content of the infamous March 25 order that required nursing homes to take patients infected with the coronavirus. His claim that the facilities were given the option to say no if they couldn’t care for those patients is false.” Goodwin goes on to cite language directly from Cuomo’s order regarding nursing homes: “No resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the NH solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19. NHs are prohibited from requiring a hospitalized resident who is determined medically stable to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or readmission.”
Bobby Burack writes in Outkick about a New York Post report on Thursday that “Gov. Andrew Cuomo and members of his administration withheld information on nursing home deaths so that the feds wouldn’t find out about them.” He then takes aim at the national media for allowing Cuomo to get away with these actions: “Since The Post’s report came out, CNN has dedicated a total of 3 minutes to it. Maybe it’ll make the lead on this Sunday’s Reliable Sources? Never change, Big Cuomo, Little Cuomo, and CNN.”
After harping on this scandal since last summer, Republicans now feel vindicated in their claims regarding a Cuomo coverup and are pointing fingers at the media for their role in facilitating it.
On The Left
Akin to their Republican counterparts, the left is equally critical of Cuomo and pushing for a full investigation into the scandal.
Some of Cuomo’s sharpest criticisms came from left-flank allies of his bitter rival, New York City Mayor, Bill Deblasio. In The Guardian, Arwa Mahdawi likens Cuomo to Donald Trump: “It has always been obvious to anyone paying attention that Cuomo is a mini-Trump. He has the same appetite for authoritarianism as the former president: during the pandemic, he has drawn scrutiny for canceling special elections, issuing executive orders, and consolidating power. Like Trump, he has nothing but disdain for his detractors, particularly if they happen to be more qualified than he is.” Mahdawi continues: “Instead of coordinating with Bill de Blasio, New York’s mayor, during the early days of the pandemic, Cuomo tried to one-up him.”
Newsday’s Editorial Board called out Cuomo for demonstrating a lack of leadership in his refusal to accept responsibility: “It’s the state’s job to be forthright with the public — and his administration failed. He blamed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Justice, and a ‘toxic political environment’ for influencing his decision-making. And at no time did Cuomo apologize.” Newsday contends that “significant questions remain” and “Attorney General Letitia James must continue her probe, and the State Legislature should hold hearings. The DOJ must determine whether the information provided by the state is accurate and whether an investigation is needed.”
Tracey Alvino wrote in USA Today about her father’s experience in a New York nursing home, and her own lack of patience with Governor Cuomo’s attempts at deflection: “Hearing Cuomo blame these deaths on God, former President Donald Trump, Mother Nature, the media, the nursing home staff, and arguably even the nursing home patients themselves, wasn’t beautiful.” My family and so many other families have demanded these numbers for months,” Alvino went on, “but the governor and his administration dismissed us. Cuomo said the only reason we want a complete picture of these numbers is because we are politically motivated. I am the assistant director of the group, Voices for Seniors, which is made up of families just like mine: We are different ages, races, genders, religions, and political ideologies. We stand together united to get accountability, justice, and reform. There is nothing political when it comes to Cuomo’s lethal policies and the mass death of seniors.”
The left has had enough of Governor Cuomo’s perceived grandstanding and want him to finally take responsibility for his actions.
According to a Siena College Research Institute poll of 804 New York voters, Cuomo’s “overall job approval fell to 51-47, down from 56-42 in January.” On the issue of how Cuomo handled information about the nursing home deaths, 39% approved while 55% did not.” A Zogby survey of 810 likely voters found that 40% of respondents would support a recall election to remove Cuomo, while 42% would oppose. Cuomo’s summer surge in popularity has come back to earth and he is now in a struggle for political survival.