The people who hand out Emmy Awards should ask New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to return the one they gave him.
Cuomo received an Emmy for what they called his “masterful” COVID-19 press briefings. The media lauded those performances, extolling his honesty and transparency. It now turns out he was as honest as many other politicians and as transparent as a brick.
The New York Post, which increasingly practices journalism that should shame the major media, reported last week that a Cuomo aide, Melissa DeRosa, privately apologized to Democratic legislators (but not Republicans) for withholding the number of people who died in state nursing homes for fear that the real numbers would “be used against us” by federal prosecutors.
Cuomo was once called “The King of New York” by The New Yorker magazine and similar fawning could be found in other media outlets before and during the early stages of the pandemic. Now it appears his kingship may be coming to an end. There have been calls for his resignation, even impeachment.
Adding to the pain already inflicted on family and friends of those who died because Cuomo had allowed – some critics say “forced” – many elderly people with COVID-19 into nursing homes, was the governor’s callous statement: “Who cares if they died in the nursing home or in the hospital? They died." Ah, such compassion from a member of a party that likes to style itself as compassionate.
Cuomo’s deplorable comment is reminiscent of Hillary Clinton’s statement about four American diplomats murdered by terrorists in Benghazi, Libya. She told a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing: “was it because of a protest, or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they'd go kill some Americans. What difference, at this point, does it make?”
Comments like these are what contribute to the cynicism many Americans have toward our leaders.
CNN, which employs Cuomo’s brother, Chris, didn’t appear to do much to look into nursing home deaths in New York or fact-check the governor’s claims. When Chris Cuomo had his brother on as a guest, the two often joked as if they were attending a family reunion. If shame has any meaning these days – and it doesn’t – CNN and Chris Cuomo should be repenting in sackcloth and ashes.
Among the few seeking the truth – other than the New York Post -- was Fox meteorologist Janice Dean. Her parents-in-law died after being infected with the virus in a New York nursing home. In an essay for foxnews.com, Dean wrote: “We lost them both to COVID last spring as the virus ravaged their long-term care facilities. Their death warrant was signed as an executive order by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo who put infected patients into the places where our most vulnerable resided.”
Dean added, “(Cuomo’s) executive order on March 25, 2020, allowed hospitals to transfer over 6,000 COVID positive seniors into their long-term care facilities … at least 15,049 seniors have died after contracting COVID in their nursing homes. That’s an increase of more than 63 percent from what our governor and his health department were officially reporting.”
The last New York governor to be impeached and removed from office was William Sulzer in 1913 during the Tammany Hall scandals. He was convicted of misappropriating funds.
Covering up the number of deaths and arguably contributing to them is a far worse offense. The state legislature should begin impeachment proceedings and remove Governor Cuomo from office.