Judge Merrick Garland, President Joe Biden’s attorney general pick, declined to get into details on Monday about the COVID-19 nursing home disaster that plagued New York following Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s mandate.
Republican Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy asked Garland how he would have handled COVID-19 had he been chief judge when the pandemic began. Kennedy wondered if he “would have adopted a rule that” deemed it “discriminatory” to ask someone to take a COVID-19 test to return to work after the individual went to the hospital for the virus and was treated and released.
Garland said “no,” he would not have adopted that rule. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Fox News’ Janice Dean Slams ‘Liberal Media,’ Says They Played Role In Covering For Gov. Cuomo’s Nursing Home Failure)
Kennedy followed this up by wondering aloud if this is “what happened with a lot of our nursing homes throughout the country.” While Kennedy did not name New York in particular, Cuomo has come under fire for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. He mandated that nursing homes accept patients who had previously tested positive for COVID-19 while barring facilities from requiring negative tests for a period of time in 2020.
“I honestly don’t know what happened with the nursing homes,” Garland responded. “I don’t know what they’re doing with respect to – I’m sorry, I’m not again, I’m not trying to be evasive. I really, I really don’t know the facts here. I mean, I think in the example you gave me, there’s nothing discriminatory about asking people who might be infected from a public health point of view to be sure they don’t infect other people, and if a determinations made they’re not infected, then of course that’s the end of it. Equal treatment doesn’t mean we don’t take into consideration the possibilities of different degrees of health in a particular circumstance.
“And I don’t, I honestly, don’t know what happened, but the nursing home – I know it was terrible that many people got the COVID in the nursing homes and it was a major vector in the spread of the infection. But I don’t know why that was, except that there are people cooped up in one place and it’s easy to spread,” he continued.
The FBI is reportedly investigating Cuomo over the nursing home deaths. The alleged investigation comes after revelations indicated that his administration underreported nursing home COVID-19 deaths by up to 50% and reports that they tried to hide the correct death count.