During the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a significant power vacuum that was supposed to be filled by former President Trump. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo filled this position of leadership when New York was struggling to combat the pandemic. He was widely celebrated by liberals who praised him for his transparency and honesty during the darkest days of the pandemic. However, many leftists were trying to point out that Cuomo might not be as honest as he was getting credit for. In late January, it was reported that the Cuomo administration underreported nursing home deaths and had tried to cover up the situation. These allegations directly contradict the praise that he has received during the pandemic.
An investigation conducted by the state attorney general revealed that New York officials were undercounting nursing home deaths by as much as 50%. Before this investigation, the reported total of nursing home deaths in New York was 8,700 which is significantly less than the actual death toll of over 15,000. On a phone call Melissa DeRosa, a top aide, was recorded saying that the administration purposefully withheld data to avoid criticism. Allegedly, Cuomo called Democratic Assemblyman Ron Kim and said that he could destroy him. One of Cuomo’s top aid denies that this call occurred, but there doesn’t seem to be an incentive for Kim to lie.
This is not the first time that Cuomo has come under fire for his handling of nursing homes. Cuomo issued an executive order in March that required nursing homes to readmit patients who were still recovering from COVID-19. He later rescinded this order, but it does point to his mishandling of the pandemic. His daily COVID-19 briefings filled a leadership gap and comforted many citizens who were looking for reassurance and amenity. However, it’s time for others on the left to realize that Cuomo’s COVID-19 response was less than satisfactory.
Many progressives and conservatives have criticized Cuomo. GOP assembly members have introduced a resolution calling for Cuomo’s impeachment. Saying that, “The Cuomo Administration’s nursing home cover-up is one of the most alarming scandals we’ve seen in state government.” Democratic leaders in the state senate are actively trying to strip Cuomo of his emergency powers that were given to him at the beginning of the pandemic. This resolution has been signed by 14 state senate Democrats. There is also legislation being drafted that would limit Cuomo’s ability to avoid state law to combat the pandemic and would establish a 10-person commission that would evaluate future actions by the Cuomo administration. These actions are increasingly necessary as Cuomo is trying to justify his actions instead of taking full responsibility. What makes Cuomo’s actions extremely revolting is that over the last few months he has bragged about how great his COVID-19 performance has been, specifically in nursing homes. He even dared to write a book called “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
While many other governors have mishandled the pandemic, it’s important that people on the left hold people in their party accountable. Cuomo has aspirations for higher office and his horrendous actions must be known by as many people as possible. This will inform future voters, and will hopefully keep him out of future administrations. There needs to be a thorough investigation conducted by the justice department, and until that happens Cuomo should have his emergency powers revoked. COVID-19 is a crisis that requires transparency and honesty from our elected leaders. Cuomo has failed his state and must be held accountable for his decisions.