Andrew Cuomo in All His Ugliness

Much of the nation these past few months has focused on New York state since it became the hotspot for the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S.  Many have also complimented Governor Andrew Cuomo’s response in fighting the pandemic, even to the point of suggesting he should substitute for presidential hopeful Joe Biden as the Democratic Party nominee to face Donald Trump in the November election. 

On Tuesday, Cuomo proposed a new law that aims to prevent corporations from receiving stimulus funds as a result of COVID-19.  While he presents himself as a governor who will tackle all forms of injustice, especially in light of his continual hands-on approach during this crisis, Cuomo is anything but the knight in shining armor he is being portrayed as. 

Disregard for the Disabled and Elderly

Cuomo ordered nursing homes for the elderly and infirm to accept patients with  COVID-19.  As reported by Pamela Geller:

“Weeks before [Cuomo] prohibited these homes from turning someone away for having COVID, there were numerous reports that nursing homes, assisted living and congregate care centers were the most vulnerable to Coronavirus.  [This was because] the biggest drag on New York state is Medicaid — what better way to rid the state of the old, sick, and disabled?”

Syracuse University Professor Scott Landes explained that because the home population “in general, [have] swallowing problems or disorders, or choking disorders, or just more susceptibility to lung infections [and] seem to develop pneumonia at a higher rate than those in the general population.”  He added that COVID-19 is even more challenging for those living in congregate residential settings.

Towards the end of April, the CEO of a hard-hit Brooklyn nursing home, where 55 patients had died from the coronavirus, warned New York Health Department officials for weeks that he had staffing and equipment issues — yet he received little help.

In what was a self-contradiction, Cuomo — who himself has described nursing homes as a “feeding frenzy’’for the deadly coronavirus — said that the facilities cannot challenge his regulation forcing the homes to admit patients with the contagion.  And although he argued that they can transfer patients who have tested positive for the coronavirus to a different facility, this too has been misleading.  On a personal note, the godmother of one of my sisters, who is nearly ninety years old, was forced to stay at a nursing home despite being infected with the COVID-19 — she miraculously recovered despite not having had the required medical attention at the home that she should have received.

Manipulating Facts and Shunning Responsibility

In March, Cuomo began to gripe against President Trump, demanding up to 40,000 ventilators to tackle the coronavirus.  Media outlets, such as The Washington Post sided with Cuomo, stating: “Trump questions New York’s plea for critical equipment” — yet this came after the president said: “I don't believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators.”  As it turned out, New York, according to updated models from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, had already reached its peak projected ventilator usage on April 8, with a projected need of 5,008.  The actual use may have been lower.

In any case, as I had previously written, had the New York governor needed so many ventilators, in 2015, after learning that the state’s stockpile of medical equipment had 16,000 fewer ventilators than New Yorkers would need in a severe pandemic, Cuomo chose not to buy more of them.  Instead, he asked his health commissioner Howard Zucker to assemble a task force and draft rules for rationing the ventilators they already had.

Cuomo also recognized, but failed to do anything about, a shortage of masks and other protective gear.  On March 6, as reported by CNBC, weeks before Trump raised the issue, Cuomo stated that people were stealing the equipment out of hospitals in New York.  “Not just people taking a couple or three, I mean just actual thefts of those products.  I’ve asked the state police to do an investigation, look at places that are selling masks, medical equipment, protective wear.”  There is, however, no evidence that he or the police ever followed up, directly resulting in a shortage today.

As reported by New York City freelance reporter Danielle Tcholakian, Cuomo, on Feb. 4, announced his “Medicaid redesign team,” the latest a long line of cumbersome task forces he likes to convene and then hamstring (see, for example, the Moreland Commission, and the task force created to get HIV below epidemic levels, and whose report he delayed and whose funding recommendations he reneged on).

While one would think amidst the pandemic any elected official would seek more funding for health care, Cuomo pursued a $2.5 billion cut in Medicaid to New York’s hospitals alongside limiting their expansion to save more money.  This is not to deny the problems of federal funding, however, Cuomo had avoided for years tackling substantively the problem of Medicaid in ways that were not opportunistic, such as conceding large sums of money to entities connected to political donors.  He could have spent the necessary $576 million at disposal on the ventilators to prepare for the worst-case scenario, but instead he opted to spend $750 million on on a boondoggle “Buffalo Billion” solar panel factory.


In 2019, Cuomo, on the day before the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, signed into law the Reproductive Health Act (RHA), which legislates a woman’s ability to have an abortion up to 24 weeks of pregnancy — when abortion is never medically necessary and when children born prematurely are routinely able to survive outside the womb with careful tending.  It also permits non-doctors to perform abortions up to the moment of birth. He marked the moment with public celebrations, which given the context, appeared ghoulish.

Prior to signing the RHA, Cuomo’s dedication to “reproductive rights” allowed for the extermination of more than 82,000 unborn lives in his state in 2016 alone — approximately 2,000 of those unborn children were killed after 20 weeks of pregnancy, the threshold where advanced neonatal intensive care is just beginning to enable survival; nearly 6,000 of those unborn children were killed in dilation and evacuation abortions.

Cuomo, a professed Catholic, stated on Fox News: “The Catholic Church doesn’t believe in a woman’s right to choose.  Yes, I understand their religious view.  But I’m not here to legislate religion” — equally to blame is the Cardinal Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan for giving Cuomo a get out of jail card on the matter.

This was nothing more than a doubling-down by Cuomo since religion has nothing to do with that has been proven by science - that human life is human life.  The legislation, as President Trump said during his State of the Union address last year, “allow[s] a baby to be ripped from a mother’s womb” —  while Cuomo’s law classifies a “person” as a “human being who has been born and is alive” – meaning unborn babies are not “persons.”

Trump has gone so far as to define life beginning at the moment of conception.

Cuomo has made it clear that he has no plans, if the situation were to present itself, to take Sleepy Joe’s place as the Democrat candidate for president this year.  That does not mean he does not aspire to the White House — Tcholakian revealed that already there have been $280 “Cuomo for President” cashmere sweaters are flying off the shelves.  Whether it is this year or in 2024 when Andrew Cuomo potentially presents himself as a presidential candidate, he would do so based on a myth that he was the knight in shining armor, when in fact he has been just the opposite.

Caricature by DonkeyHotey, via Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

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