Fought New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo catastrophic failure around the state’s growing nursing home scandal represents a permanent stain on a legacy tainted with deception, chaos and thousands of deaths, critics say – and he could take his younger brother with him.
Cuomo’s nursing home controversy came under renewed focus last week when his top assistant admitted that his administration had withheld the true number COVID-19 related deaths in nursing homes to avoid federal control, as first reported by the New York Post.
The state was forced to recognize a death toll among nursing home residents that reached nearly 15,000 after initially reporting 8,500 – a figure that excluded residents who died in a hospital.
Cuomo’s directive on nursing homes to accept patients who had or were suspected of having COVID-19 has since been considered one of the biggest scandals in the pandemic. The decision created an attack on COVID-19 cases that infected a large proportion of the state’s elderly patients and resulted in thousands of deaths among its most vulnerable population.
But as New Yorkers began raising questions about the growing number of deaths in nursing homes, the governor’s younger brother and most ardent protector, Chris Cuomo, offered him a platform on his CNN show, “Cuomo Prime Time,” to appeal to viewers . by leading legendary on-air conversations, largely avoiding the nursing home scandal altogether.
“This is not just a government scandal. It’s a media scandal,” New York Post columnist Karol Markowicz wrote in a recent column. “While the Cuomo administration sentenced seniors to death, the media was busy spawning Cuomo in a series of softball interviews, many of which were conducted by his own brother.”
As grieving New Yorkers angrily awaited answers, the Cuomo brothers joked in the air about trivial questions and wondered aloud which of the two would be considered their mother’s favorite child and even resort to physical comedy when the CNN anchor presented a cartoon-like oversized cotton swab that his brother could use for a coronavirus test.
Days after Elder Cuomo reversed the course and signed an executive order on May 11 preventing hospitals from sending infected patients back to nursing homes and increasing staff testing, he appeared on his brother’s show in a 25-minute sit-in. down who did not mention any mention of the number of deaths in the nursing home.
The CNN anchor finally mentioned the controversy to his brother after ignoring it during at least ten air interviews, but the governor quickly pointed out how there were nursing home deaths “across the country” and said “we need to figure out how to do it” better next time “before the next virus wave occurs.
In another interview, the younger brother flooded “Love Gov” with praise as the leader of New York and even admitted to his viewers, “Of course I’m not objective,” while expressing his love for his brother.
“He’s my big brother. I love him. Of course I’m not objective, but let’s call it straight. Look at the state, look at the numbers … Yes, he’s my brother,” the younger Cuomo said on time. “There is no doubt. I can cry about it in a second, but the results are there for all to see. Was it perfect? No, tell me what it is, but look at the state our country is in. And if you do not ‘do not think this will be reflected in what happens in November, then you have not paid attention.’
Along the way, the Cuomo government emerged as a lover of the liberal media and wrote a book about his leadership throughout the pandemic. Months of glowing coverage from his brother’s network even earned him an Emmy Award for his coronavirus briefings.
A bombshell development in the scandal involving both brothers occurred last week, then Post reported that Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor, told leading Empire State Democrats during a videoconference call that the administration erroneously presented the true number of deaths to DOJ investigators for fear the data could be “used against us.”
Since the scandal broke, Chris Cuomo has neither mentioned it in his show nor tweeted about it – instead dedicated tweets and airtime to accusation trial of former President Donald Trump.
Republicans accusing the administration of a deliberate “concealment” are now calling for the investigation and dismissals of both the Cuomo government and DeRosa. An increasing number of Democrats are joining calls to lift the government of Cuomo’s emergency forces and blow up the administration’s defense of its secrecy as his brother remains silent.
Governor Cuomo has defended itself in the wake of the nursing home report by saying, “Everyone did the best they could.”
At a news conference Friday, he said the state was following federal guidance. “If you think there was a mistake, talk to the federal government,” he said. “It’s not about pointing fingers or blaming, this became a political football.”
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