Andrew Cuomo is somehow still governor of New York. He is also still in possession of a degree of brazenness that is nearly unparalleled in public life. The first bit of evidence of that is how Cuomo is, in fact, still governor, despite ongoing investigations into his efforts to alter or hide outright information about his state’s COVID numbers (as he was writing and then promoting a book about his pandemic-era leadership), and into numerous sexual-harassment allegations against him.
To the extent Cuomo ever endeared national attention and affection, it was in large part due to the perception that he was competently handling the coronavirus crisis, something that he owes largely to his mysteriously award-winning briefings on the topic. So it is not a surprise that he has continued these briefings, thinking that a “More Cowbell” approach may bring him out of his current troubles. But when he says things like what he did at today’s, you have to wonder if he’ll just end up shooting himself in the foot again:
I am telling you as I sit here — I have told you the facts on covid from day one. Whether they were easy, whether they were hard, I told you the truth. While a lot of people were talking politics and a lot of people were talking theory and a lot of people were trying to deny because they didn’t want to deliver bad news, I told you the truth. You know why? Because I believe in you. I believe in New Yorkers. I believe if they get the truth and they get the facts, they will do the right thing. I’m a lifelong New Yorker. I know New Yorkers. Give them the facts. ‘Yeah but the facts are ugly.’ Doesn’t matter. Give them the facts and they will do the right thing.
It’s worth asking what Cuomo defines as “Day One.” It certainly couldn’t have been the day he began covering up the disastrous consequences of his order forcing nursing homes in the state to readmit patients infected with coronavirus. As Brittany Bernstein reported for us earlier this year:
A top aide to Governor Cuomo admitted last month that the administration covered up the true data on nursing home deaths from the coronavirus in New York state in order to hide the magnitude of the issue from federal authorities.
Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa apologized to state Democratic lawmakers during a recent video conference call, saying “we froze” out of fear that the real nursing home death numbers would “be used against us” by federal prosecutors, the New York Post reported.
However, the New York Times reports the coverup efforts were underway before federal authorities requested the data, and just as Cuomo began writing a book touting his pandemic leadership achievements. The rewritten report, which concealed the number of deaths and found that Cuomo’s policies were not at fault for the nursing home death toll, was released just four days before the governor announced he was working on a book.
Cuomo finally released the complete data on nursing homes earlier this year, only after the state attorney general found that thousands of deaths of nursing home residents have been undercounted. The governor said then he had withheld it to avoid a “politically motivated” inquiry from the Trump administration into the state’s handling of the virus in nursing homes.
What’s amazing is that Cuomo not only lied about this, but is now lying about having lied. So when he now claims that he tells the truth to New Yorkers because he believes in them, one can justly wonder whether he is lying about that as well.