Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo claimed Wednesday that he took “responsibility” for every New Yorker who has died throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
Cuomo appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to discuss the continued impact of the pandemic and how New York was handling outbreaks going forward. (RELATED: Meghan McCain Challenges Brian Stelter On Cuomo Brothers’ ‘Comedy Routine’ — He Ignores It)
Jonathan Lemire was the first to mention nursing homes and the large spike in cases and deaths that may have resulted from a March 25 order barring them from denying entry to patients with positive COVID tests.
“There’s been a criticism from the early days of the pandemic about the state policy that sent patients who had been infected back into nursing homes, certainly the president has been extremely critical of that position. Could you walk through your thinking as to why that happened and would you do so again if, indeed, we saw another outbreak now?” Lemire asked.
Cuomo responded by saying that by comparison, the percentage of deaths in New York nursing homes was lower than that of other states. He also noted that New York had always had more hospital beds than were needed, adding, “We never forced any nursing home to take them. So — that’s just not true.” (RELATED: ‘He Better Have An Army’: Andrew Cuomo Says Donald Trump Is Not Welcome In New York)
Willie Geist pushed back, asking, “With the benefit of hindsight, would you not have issued that March 25 directive to send COVID-positive patients back to nursing homes and will you do it again if this comes up?”
Cuomo defended the order then, saying that it was not forcing nursing homes to take COVID-positive patients but rather telling them that they were not allowed to discriminate. He then pushed the blame onto the nursing homes, suggesting they had disregarded a state directive telling them that they could not accept patients they were not able to treat.
Geist pressed again, saying, “I mentioned that we talked a couple days ago on ‘The Today Show’ about the question of nursing homes, and I heard it from a couple people, many of whom like you and think you did a good job generally but who were upset by the way you’ve talked about this nursing home issue and pushed off responsibility to other people. What do you say to those families who believe that the death of their loved one was preventable?”
Cuomo blamed President Donald Trump for convincing people that their loved ones had died as a result of bad policy, adding, “It’s cruel to say to the families who lost people in nursing homes, well, this could have been prevented by a different government policy. It makes their pain worse. It is not true.”
“I mean, your Department of Health wrote the March 25 advisory, to just to put a fine point on it, do you take any responsibility for the 6,600 deaths in nursing homes in the state of New York?” Geist continued.
“Look, I take responsibility for every death in the State of New York,” Cuomo insisted. “I’m governor of the state. I take responsibility for every death. I don’t care, frankly, if — if it’s my fault, not my fault, if it’s the federal government, if it’s God that did it. I’m responsible, I’m in charge and I’ve never run away from that. But I also want to make sure we have facts here, Willie.”
Fox News senior meteorologist Janice Dean, who lost both her mother-in-law and father-in-law to COVID-19 in New York nursing homes, had a slightly different take.
“He’s taken zero responsibility for the deaths in nursing homes. However, he has a laundry list of others he’s blamed for his executive order death warrant,” she told the Daily Caller.
— New York Post (@nypost) October 13, 2020