Most people would like to forget about the first six month of 2020. So many aspects of daily life have changed that there is a kind of nostalgia for 2019. Many ache for a return to a time when most adults went to work every day, children spent five days a week in school, and no one wore masks.
However, one public official had hoped and still hopes that this time period will represent the pinnacle of his career. That person is New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
He Took Control
Until March 2020, Andrew Cuomo was looked upon as an unpleasant man whose chief political asset was the memory of his more personable father. Then the Wuhan virus cast its cup-shaped spines into American life.
Suddenly, Governor Cuomo was the man who took control when New York City was the hardest hit area in the country. The Governor had a strategically placed brother at CNN who led the media in grabbing on to the Governor’s every word. The Governor was always presented as the better informed and more humanitarian leader. For a couple of heady weeks, there was talk of pushing aside the Democrats’ presumptive presidential candidate in favor of the New York governor.
However, fame is fleeting.
Two events have eclipsed the New York governor.
The first is the urban unrest and rioting. New York City experienced some of the worst looting and rioting that shut down the city.
Governor Cuomo could have used the riots to burnish his image. He could have provided a welcome contrast to New York City’s ineffective and openly-socialist Mayor DeBlasio. A strong law and order stance would have boosted his popularity immensely. However, instead of defending the city, he gave in to the more politically correct narrative of the social justice warriors. He pandered to the chanting crowd.
Blame the Police
With a fall in his popularity, the governor is borrowing a page from the rioters. He is blaming the police not the rioters for the civil disorder. He is demanding that police change their policies.
An article in Law Enforcement Today spells out the nature of what the governor calls leadership.
“In a press conference on August 17th, Governor Andrew Cuomo discussed the soaring numbers of violent crimes taking place all over New York, and referred to it as an ‘urgent crisis.’ Without mincing words, he then blamed it completely on police departments, claiming they have done ‘very little’ to come up with reform plans.
“[H]e sent a letter to five hundred police departments,…[threatening] that he will be pulling funding from the departments if their reform plans are not in place by April 2021.”
Indeed, the crime numbers are soaring. New York City murders are up 29% over last year. The numbers of shootings in each of the five boroughs are disturbing. They are up by 54% in Manhattan, 60% in the Bronx, 75% in Queens, 102% in Brooklyn, and a mind-boggling 108% in Staten Island.
For Governor Cuomo to place blame on the police for these figures is akin to a motorist blaming the car for running out of gas.
The Virus Turns on the Governor
The second event that interrupted the New York Governor’s flight to fame was the state’s reaction to the Wuhan virus. Figures compiled by NBC show that New York recorded over 33,000 deaths. This is almost double the number in New Jersey, which is second at just under 16,000.
All those deaths cannot be blamed on Governor Cuomo. As the largest and most densely populated area in the nation, New York City is the likely place for virus infection.
However, the Governor’s decision to place Covid patient in nursing homes (NHs) implicates him for roughly 20% of the deaths, according to the New York Times.
On March 25, 2020 the New York State Department of Health, with the Governor’s approval, issued a directive that forced Nursing Homes to admit those who suffered from the Wuhan virus. The order said, “No resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the NH solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID –19” (Emphasis in the original). Furthermore, “NHs are prohibited from requiring a hospitalized resident who is determined medically stable to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or readmission.”
The order made no provision for the ability of the nursing homes to isolate Covid-19 sufferers from the rest of their already vulnerable population. They couldn’t even screen new residents.
Governor Cuomo was not the only governor to make such orders. New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan did likewise. According to The Hill, the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the connection between those orders and coronavirus deaths.
The Sower of Aspersions
While Governor Cuomo has not commented specifically on this investigation, a June statement to radio station WAMC disclaimed any responsibility. “They don’t want to talk about what the federal government did on COVID. So they want to attack the Democrats for nursing home deaths. It’s the same M.O., just distract, you know create a shiny object to take attention off what they don’t want you to focus on. “We had the worst case in the United States because the federal government had no idea what was going on. Where was the CDC? And where was the NIH? And where was everybody?”
Governor Cuomo is happy to take credit when the news is good. Many will remember his blasphemous statement when Covid-19 cases dipped. “The number is down because we brought the number down. God did not do that. Faith did not do that. Destiny did not do that. A lot of pain and suffering did that…That’s how it works.”
While the Governor is so eager to take credit away from God, he is quick to shuffle the blame on to other shoulders. In this quest, the facts don’t matter. Individual reputations don’t matter. The New York Police Department, the president, the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health or any other attractive target will do.
All that matters is that responsibility does not rest on the “honorable” Governor of the Empire State of New York.