A panel on Thursday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” flamed Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for working with staff on his $4 million book deal amid the nursing home scandal in his state.
The panel, including MSNBC hosts Willie Geist and Mika Brzezinski, as well as contributor Mike Barnicle and analyst Elise Jordan, slammed Cuomo’s attempt to “enrich himself” while his administration was “concealing” the number of coronavirus deaths in New York nursing homes, with one saying, “time for this guy to go.” (RELATED: ‘You Will Be Held Accountable’: Rep. Tom Reed Lays Out Possible Federal Case Against Andrew Cuomo)
Brzezinski began the segment by reading parts of an article from The New York Times detailing the timeline of Cuomo’s book deal in relation to the concealing of the actual number of coronavirus-related deaths in New York’s nursing homes by Cuomo’s staff. She read that some of the staff, including one member who helped in “reshaping” the reporting of nursing home deaths, was assisting with edits of the book, which potentially broke state laws that prohibit “use of public resources for personal gain.”
Before turning to Geist for his take, Brzezinski noted that Cuomo’s office denied there was any relation to the outside work on the book and the report on nursing home deaths.
“Just staggering. Just when you think it can’t get any worse, it does with each new story that comes out … the very idea that you’re working on a book, which is just self-praise, frankly, as to how he managed the crisis while this nursing home scandal was unfolding, while they were concealing the number of nursing home deaths,” Geist said. “The fact that he wrote the book was bad enough.”
Barnicle jumped in and claimed that Cuomo’s time in office has been spent with him being “totally isolated from reality” because he’s been surrounded by people who’ve become “sycophant-ish” and “enthralled” with his power. He described what he saw as Cuomo “walking around this huge house” feeling “lonely” because he’s unmarried, and added that this was “dangerous” in terms of leadership because Cuomo didn’t have anyone there to tell him “Andrew, no, that’s wrong. Don’t do it.”
“He should step aside. He should be forced out of office,” Jordan chimed in. “It is absolutely ridiculous that you have nursing home residents being put at risk, dying and you have a cover-up by this administration for Andrew Cuomo’s book fortune of the tune of $4 million.”
She went on to ask how this isn’t corruption and why government resources were being used to write a “self-congratulatory” book while people are still dying and the country is in the middle of a pandemic.
“I really couldn’t be more disgusted. It is time for this guy to go,” she concluded.
Cuomo has been heavily criticized over his handling of the pandemic concerning older patients living in nursing homes. In March 2020 he ordered nursing homes to accept patients who had tested positive for the coronavirus. The order was revoked in May 2020, but more than 12,000 nursing home residents ended up dying from the coronavirus by January of this year.
After heavy criticism over the March order, the New York State Department of Health changed the way it reported nursing home deaths by only including those deaths that actually occurred in the nursing home, and not in other facilities, such as the hospital. It was revealed in February that the FBI is investigating Cuomo and his administration over the nursing home data.
It was reported in August that Cuomo was writing a book about his leadership during the coronavirus. The book was published in October, but the publisher, Crown Publishing Group, stopped promotion of the book in March following the revelations of the nursing home scandal and sexual misconduct allegations against Cuomo.