Just six months ago, Andrew Cuomo was America’s Governor. The coronavirus pandemic had rocked the country, and New York was at the forefront. Throughout the early stages of the pandemic, New York was the biggest COVID-19 hotspot in the country, at one point containing approximately half of the country’s positive cases. Cuomo became famous for his televised coronavirus briefings, so much so that the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences broke tradition and awarded him its International Emmy Founders Award, in recognition for his “leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic and his masterful use of television to inform and calm people around the world.”
The mainstream media wasted no time in painting Mr. Cuomo as an American hero who had led his state to victory. The praise came in the midst of an ongoing investigation regarding Cuomo’s handling of nursing homes. New York Attorney General Letitia James released a report finding that the state Department of Health had underreported the deaths of nursing home patients related to COVID-19 by much as 50 percent. Yet, polls still show that the governor’s approval rating is sitting comfortably at 57 percent, no doubt as a result of the overwhelmingly positive press throughout the pandemic.
Although, that 57 percent is down from the 63 percent Cuomo saw just 1 month ago. Perhaps we are seeing the beginning signs of a growing disapproval among the governor’s constituents, and rightfully so. If I were a New Yorker, I too, would be outraged if my governor enforced a mandate on March 25, 2020 which required that COVID-19 patients be moved from hospitals to nursing homes, likely resulting in the death of 15,000 people. I also wouldn’t be too pleased to find out that Andrew Cuomo’s aide, Melissa DeRosa, admitted that the state hid COVID-19 data to avoid federal prosecution. I certainly wouldn’t be too thrilled to find that my governor, in the midst of a nursing home crisis, was happily indulging himself in the media’s prodigal praise, appearing almost nightly on CNN, of course getting thrown journalistic softballs. And, after all of that, to write a book celebrating his ‘leadership’ in the wake of the damage that his state incurred as a result of his administration’s bureaucratic ineptitude — The seemingly endless determination to avoid responsibility and displace blame, most notably onto the Trump administration, is reflective of both Cuomo and the media that backed him up. In the early days of the pandemic, both the governor and the former president had a relatively good record of cooperation. President Trump swiftly approved the conversion of the Javits Center in Manhattan into a makeshift hospital which contained 1,000 hospital beds. He also deployed the USNS Comfort to the city on March 30, which was equipped with an additional 500 hospital beds, 11 operating rooms, 80 intensive care beds, and a radiology suite – all to accommodate the coronavirus patient overflow in New York City.
In what world is it logical to issue a mandate that sends COVID-19 patients into nursing homes only for the USNS Comfort to arrive just 5 days later? On top of that, the Javits Center was approved for operation on April 2. And just when things couldn’t get any more perplexing, Cuomo also admitted that New York was keeping a reserve stockpile of 2,000 unused ventilators for COVID-19 patients, all the while criticizing the Trump administration for not complying with his request of 40,000 ventilators. Why weren’t those ventilators deployed immediately? Governor Cuomo may feel more inclined to blame the former president for his state’s shortcomings, but it is clear that the Trump administration gave him everything he needed, with most of the help arriving per the governor’s request.
Despite the accolades from the press, there was an undercurrent of outrage regarding those nursing home patients. New York families of nursing home patients are understandably outraged. “The families who lost family members are the true New York strong. Cuomo is tone-deaf and should resign,” said Vivian Zayas, founder of Voices for Seniors advocacy group, whose mom, Ana Martinez, also died of COVID-19 in a Long Island nursing home. Danielle Messina, whose dad, Samuel Arbeeny, died of COVID-19 in a Staten Island nursing home said, “It was his March 25 mandate, his order that was responsible for nursing home deaths. It spread like wildfire.”
But this understandable outrage was almost always promptly dismissed by the media. After all, in the eyes of most in the media, the Trump administration was the only source of culpability regarding the mishandling of the pandemic. Talking heads across the nation ruthlessly criticized and condemned Trump for his “lack of a national plan,” conveniently opting to not acknowledge the federal government’s relief efforts, such as the indisputable success of Operation Warp Speed. However, the pundits, who were proclaiming the Trump administration’s sole responsibility for the hundreds of thousands of lives lost due to the pandemic, do not seem to possess the same accusatory impulses towards the new administration. The coronavirus deaths occurring under Joe Biden’s presidency are now simply accepted as statistically inevitable, that some people are going to die no matter how much federal or state help is allocated. This is a valid point many conservatives have been emphasizing since the beginning of the pandemic— I’m glad we finally agree.
It would certainly seem that the sudden investigation of Andrew Cuomo’s mishandling of the pandemic, by both the FBI and federal prosecutors, is only due to culpability being suddenly shifted away from the Biden administration. Holding Andrew Cuomo accountable for his stunningly obvious incompetence has long since been overdue, but it is only acceptable now because Donald Trump is finally out of office.
In the beginning, Andrew Cuomo was a national hero — a household name solidified in a nearly impenetrable layer of moral righteousness. Pride goeth before the fall. In the wake of the governor’s coronavirus scandal hitting the airwaves, Republicans introduced a resolution in the New York State Assembly to form an impeachment commission to gather evidence on Cuomo’s “handling and subsequent cover-up of the COVID-19 crisis in nursing homes.” This resolution was also introduced after 14 democrats joined republicans in the New York State Senate to strip the governor of his emergency pandemic powers. Conservatives will cheer Cuomo’s possible removal from office; however, make no mistake, this is a bipartisan issue. This is an alleged abuse of power which resulted in the deaths of thousands. This affects us all.
After nearly a year of the America’s Governor narrative being shoved down the public’s throat, as well as the media’s blatant dismissal of those who dared object, it would appear that the party is finally over.