Cuomo offered preferential COVID treatment to friends and family
Like Dorian Gray, the scandals engulfing New York's Gov. Andrew Cuomo just keep getting uglier and uglier.
The latest, from the Washington Post, signals that cronies and family members got themselves some COVID-linked special privileges:
New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's relatives and other well-connected New Yorkers were among those given preferential treatment at state coronavirus testing centers. State troopers were on standby to rush their samples to a lab to be expedited. And those with priority status got results within hours or a day, compared with the wait of up to a week that other New Yorkers faced at the time.
Seven individuals with firsthand knowledge of testing practices said that some people with access to power were able to largely bypass the overburdened resources available to the general public when the pandemic first gripped New York last year.
State officials strongly disputed that people were given special treatment because of ties to Cuomo (D). They said priority testing was available to many New York residents involved in the state's pandemic response, as well as members of the general public, such as those who were at high risk.
But people familiar with the efforts said they were also told to treat individuals differently because of their connections to the governor. The individuals — who spoke at length to The Washington Post on the condition of anonymity out of fear of retribution by Cuomo's office — described the behind-the-scenes operations and their feelings of discomfort with a system that they believed at times prioritized political connections over medical need.
During the early frenetic weeks in March 2020, officials working at testing sites rapidly assembled a system that gave special treatment to people described by staffers as "priorities," "specials," "inner circle" or "criticals," according to five people, including three nurses, who described how resources were redirected to serve those close to the governor and other cases that were fast-tracked.
At one of the first pandemic operations hubs in the state, the testing priority status of more than 100 individuals were logged in an electronic data sheet that was kept separate from a database for the general public, according to a person with direct knowledge of the practice.
So if you had "connections" to Big Daddy in Albany, step right up to get your COVID test. If you were merely a New Yorker, a member of the hoi polloi, tough luck, bub.
Considered with his other scandals, it actually was worse. Cuomo, you recall, had his administration flunkies send out a March 26 memo ordering nursing homes to take in COVID patients. Not only did they have to take in COVID patients against all common sense or lose their licenses to operate, but the nursing homes were actually forbidden by Cuomo's order to test them before letting these contagious patients to enter. Cuomo also denied these nursing homes the necessary personal protective equipment, sneeringly declaring that it was "not our job." When people started to die, he had this for them, a repugnant combination of callousness and cover-his-ass lies:
"As a society, you can't save everyone. You're gonna lose people, that's life," Cuomo told reporters amid reports of nursing home deaths exceeding 5,000. "But we did everything we could."
Compare and contrast with the COVID express-testing service that went on for Cuomo and his cronies.
The WaPo said this kind of thing happened for the cronies:
Two individuals said clothing and footwear designer Kenneth Cole, the governor's brother-in-law, was among those who benefited from priority testing.
And a top state physician whose pandemic portfolio involved coordinating testing in nursing homes was dispatched multiple times to the Hamptons home of CNN host Chris Cuomo, the governor's brother, in testing visits that sometimes stretched hours, according to two people with knowledge of the consultations.
Maybe saving the best for his relatives was to leave more for them.
Chris Cuomo got to use express treatment, as did his wife, featured in this Brooks Brothers magazine lifestyle in the Hamptons luxury spread. Chris didn't even comply with his COVID terms when he caught COVID, but with medical personnel at his beck and call, he probably didn't need to.
Andrew Cuomo blamed Trump for not enough tests, making no note of all the little set-asides he had set aside for his privileged relatives.
The old people in the nursing homes, by contrast, didn't stand a chance.
And all this...as Cuomo loudly bawled some starving, defiant barber defying the lockdown out.
Chris Cuomo went on to shill as a media member for Andrew Cuomo, effectively calling him a hero governor.
That's despite the fact that he hates his job, yet he shilled like a court eunuch, getting benefits in exchange that other people couldn't get.
Ed Morrissey at Hot Air points out that CNN is complicit, too:
This once again calls into question what CNN knew and when it knew it. After getting this almost-priceless health-care support and favorable treatment, Chris Cuomo spent the next two months promoting his brother on the air as the epitome of pandemic leadership. In the broadcast world, that's known as payola — the promotion of a product or person on air after receiving undisclosed gifts. When will other media outlets demand an answer from CNN about the implications of this corruption — and why Cuomo remains on the air?
It's an outrage, really, especially when combined with his other scandals. He's in hot water seeding nursing home patients with COVID patients and then covering up the deaths, for one. He's also under fire for now nine accused instances of sexual harassment, the latest instance a creepy incident where he grabbed the unwilling face of a natural disaster victim and kissed her on the lips.
The special-treatment issue is the cherry on top of the cake. It's as though he thinks he's royalty. Or he's a New York variant of the Soviet nomenklatura, embracing the idea of a special class of comrades with special buying privileges. Women are to be playthings and grabbed at will. Nomenklatura members get special treatment. Now the chickens are coming home to roost.
Since he won't resign, it's time for the New York state Legislature to throw him out.