Andrew Cuomo Blows Off Nursing Home COVID Crisis As A ‘Shiny Object’ For Political Opponents

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Virginia Kruta Associate Editor
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Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo referred to the COVID crisis in his state’s nursing homes as a “shiny object,” chalking criticisms aimed at him up to politics.

Cuomo was one of five Democratic governors who ordered nursing homes to accept patients regardless of their COVID status — the others being Phil Murphy (New Jersey), Gretchen Whitmer (Michigan), Tom Wolf (Pennsylvania) and Gavin Newsom (California) — despite federal recommendations advising against that. (RELATED: Steve Scalise Leads Charge, Demands Answers From Governors Who Ordered Nursing Homes To Take COVID Patients)

The New York Governor was asked Thursday during a radio interview with WAMC’s Alan Chartock whether he would change the way he had handled the nursing home situation if he had the chance to do so, given the thousands of nursing home residents who had died due to the coronavirus pandemic and the criticism he has received since.

“Is there anything you could point to in which you say okay, they really sort of have convinced me that I’m on the wrong track here?” Chartock asked (at the 21:35 mark).

Cuomo responded by saying that the focus on nursing homes was “pure politics” on the part of Republicans, saying, “They think there’s a vulnerability. The Republicans in Congress just sent letters just to Democratic states about the nursing homes.”

He went on to accuse Republicans of “capitalizing on people’s grief,” blaming the New York Post, Rupert Murdoch and “pro-Trump propaganda” for continuing to criticize the way he had handled the crisis.

“They don’t want to talk about what the federal government did on COVID so they want to attack the Democrats for nursing home deaths,” Cuomo claimed. “The same MO just distract, you know, create a shiny object to take attention off what they don’t want you to focus on. They don’t want to talk about the federal government’s response or lack of response … We had the worst case in the United States, because the federal government had no idea what was going on.”

In addition to sending a letter to the five governors who went their own way on nursing home policy, the House Select Committee on Coronavirus Response’s Ranking Member Steve Scalise responded to Cuomo’s interview directly.

“Rather than answer our questions, the Governor of New York has resorted to name-calling to try to change the subject, and the Governor of New Jersey has simply refused to cooperate. Most outrageously, they’re doing this because House Democrats are letting them get away with it,” Scalise said in a statement. “There is no excuse that will change the fact that the grieving families of those who died because of these orders still deserve answers. We will continue to call on our Democrat colleagues to join us in getting to the bottom of this and look for other ways to obtain the information that these governors are withholding.”

Murphy, as Scalise mentioned, also blew off questions from GOP members of the select committee, saying that he did not have to answer to them.

But House Republicans are not the only ones who have demanded answers. Fox News meteorologist Janice Dean, who lost both her mother-in-law and father-in-law to coronavirus in New York nursing homes, has repeatedly called on Governor Cuomo to answer for his order.

And in Michigan, Democratic state legislators have condemned Whitmer’s similar order.