Gov. Cuomo squirms like a worm on a hook to avoid responsibility
Throughout the spring of 2020, the media celebrated New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo as the model for how to handle the Wuhan virus. He gave charming press conferences, joked around with his vapid brother Chris, and received an Emmy for his splendid media performance. Now, though, we know that Cuomo was actually New York's grim reaper. Under his aegis, thousands of elderly New Yorkers died unnecessarily.
At the end of January, New York's attorney general, the hard-left Letitia James, let it be known that Cuomo's administration had undercounted the number of nursing home residents who had died when he insisted that patients with the Wuhan virus, upon their release from the hospital, be sent to nursing homes. This policy was the equivalent of sending leaking gasoline cans and lit matches into the nursing homes, turning them into abattoirs.
After two weeks, Cuomo's closest aide, Melissa DeRosa, was admitting that the administration had deliberately understated the number of people who died in nursing homes because the Trump administration was beginning to investigate them. The administration also investigated New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, all of which had the same "back to the nursing home" policy as New York, although none were quite as deadly.
On Monday, it became clear that the story wasn't going to go away. People resented the fact that their elderly relatives, neighbors, and friends had experienced lonely, unnecessary deaths. An angry state Legislature demanded that Cuomo lose the emergency powers he's been abusing. Others called for federal investigations. May I suggest a nice manslaughter charge?
Cuomo held a press conference that was a tour de force — but I don't mean that in a good way. Instead, in quick succession, Cuomo blamed everyone but himself for what happened.
He began by blaming the Trump administration for the hash New York is making of the vaccine distribution plan. (The last third of this video explains what really went wrong.)
He pushed back against the effort to revoke his emergency powers, saying they "have nothing to do with nursing homes." That may be true, but they certainly have a lot to do with appalling errors in judgment during a health emergency.
He denied hiding data about nursing homes. Instead, it's all politics: "this past year, there is a toxic political environment, and everything gets politicized. There is political spin and then there are facts." He explained that he had to hold off on getting data to New York's Legislature because he was hustling to get it to the DOJ — in August, long after the spring's peak deaths had ended. Whoops!
He blamed the CDC for telling states to send sick people to nursing homes. Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis received the same information and ignored it until he was sure the nursing homes were safe. Cuomo also claimed that nursing homes said they could handle it. At least one nursing home in Brooklyn, though, was begging Cuomo to end the slaughter.
He blamed the nursing homes for making people sick. It was the staffers who were the guilty parties.
And of course, Cuomo blamed the left's ever-present bogeyman: "conspiracy theories" and "disinformation." His only fault lay with creating a "void" in which they could breed.
If Cuomo had been a Japanese politician who was exposed as his state's angel of death, he would at the very least have resigned immediately from his position. More seriously and, certainly, in a past age, the politician would have committed seppuku (ritual suicide).
However, this didn't happen in Japan; it happened in Cuomo's New York, and the government was going to do anything to place the blame on anybody but himself. Not to make light of the terrible things that happened on Cuomo's watch, but his press conference could have substituted for the song "It's Your Fault," in Stephen Sondheim's Into The Woods, with Cuomo taking on each role:
Image: Cuomo press conference about nursing home deaths. YouTube screen grab.