The administration of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is reportedly under federal investigation for its actions in the early days of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
And insiders say this probe could ultimately ensnare the governor himself.
Cuomo was hailed as a hero early in the pandemic as the left-wing media broadcast his daily press conferences around the country.
But behind the scenes, critics say he was no hero.
His actions and the actions of those around him may have led to directly to the deaths of some of the state’s most vulnerable people.
Cuomo and his team aren’t accused of any wrongdoing at this point.
But The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York is looking at the administration’s role in the nursing home scandal, and the Times Union newspaper in Albany says the FBI is also involved in the investigation.
Team Cuomo has come under fire for a policy decision early on that essentially forced state-run nursing homes to accept coronavirus patients, a decision that may have led directly to outbreaks in those facilities and a wave of unnecessary deaths.
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Figuring out how many were infected – and how many died – has been a difficult task, as the Cuomo administration has been trying to hide the numbers from the public.
The Journal noted that in 2020, the state’s nursing homes had 15,000 deaths – about 50 percent higher than previous reports indicated. What’s more, the newspaper said that total doesn’t include 5,600 nursing home residents who died in hospitals.
State Sen. Jim Tedisco, a Republican, told The Wall Street Journal that the investigation was “welcome news that I hope will help get to the bottom of this deadly scandal and start the process of bringing closure to families who lost their loved ones to the coronavirus.”
But it’s not just Republicans who are attacking Cuomo.
He’s also coming under fire from within his own party – including a nasty escalating feud with a key Democratic lawmaker that spilled into the public view this week.
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Assemblyman Ron Kim, a Queens Democrat who lost his uncle to the infection, delivering some withering criticism of the governor, saying Cuomo “cares more about his own political and personal well-being than the most vulnerable members of our community.”
That, he said, led to an angry and ominous phone call from the governor.
Kim told The New York Times that Cuomo asked, “Are you an honorable man?” then yelled at the lawmaker for 10 minutes and demanded that he release a public statement “clarifying” his comments.
When he didn’t, Cuomo issued his own public statement making accusations against Kim so bizarre that the New York Post compared the governor to an infamous movie stereotype.
“Governor, do you recall how your brother was so offended when critics called him Fredo? Or your father’s famous rage at media talk of the mafia?” the newspapers editorial board asked. “But if your family is so offended by comparisons to ‘The Godfather,’ why do you keep acting like a two-bit don?”
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The newspaper added:
Bullying, threatening, Cuomo even made some baseless ethics charges against Kim to round things out. All that’s missing is the horse’s head in the bed.
Cuomo’s fury is infamous; most of his aides walk in fear of his tantrums — which is one reason his staff turnover is so high. But threatening a legislator in this way is a new low.
It’s a mighty fall for a governor who was a media darling less than one year ago, with nationally televised news conference that the left fawned over as new-era “fireside” chats.
CNN even allowed its own Cuomo, Chris, to interview his brother on live TV — an ethically dubious practice by any standard.
“Journalists can’t reliably cover their brothers,” wrote Washington Post media critic Eric Wemple.
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Beyond the sheer optics of it, the governor often talked down to his little brother in ways the media no doubt would have found unacceptable from any other political figure.
Now, the tables have turned – even on the liberal airwaves of CNN.
The network announced last week that it would no longer allow reporter Cuomo to interview his brother.
That means someone else may have to break the news to the network’s viewers that “hero” Cuomo’s team is now under federal investigation.
— Walter W. Murray is a reporter for The Horn News. He is an outspoken conservative and a survival expert.