As we’ve previously reported, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been hit with a wave of negative press over the last few weeks, and he has no one to blame but for it but himself.
To start with, there was NY’s Democratic Attorney General Letitia James detailing last month how nursing home COVID death numbers could be as much as 50% higher than the state had officially reported (at the time of her report, the number was at 8,711). The undercounting, James said in so many words, was partially due to the deceptive way the state changed how nursing home deaths from the Wuhan coronavirus were calculated.
And late last week, Cuomo found himself in hot water again. One explosive report revolved around the governor’s office admitting the state deliberately withheld data on nursing home COVID patient deaths to head off a potential federal investigation by Trump’s DOJ. Another bombshell report that broke last week was on the actual number of COVID-positive patients who were let back into nursing home facilities: 9,056, over 40% higher than what the state health department had initially reported.
Along with Cuomo’s house of cards tumbling down has come his “who cares where they died?” meltdown, bizarre accusations from him that New York Democrats are engaging in “extortion”, and Cuomo’s predictable “blame Trump” tactics.
Not surprisingly, his hardcore apologists are rushing to his defense as well. Case in point, Rich Azzopardi, who bills himself as a “senior advisor” to Gov. Cuomo and who has this quote in his Twitter bio: “‘Andrew Cuomo’s bulldog spokesman’ — @cityandstateny.”
Here’s what “Andrew Cuomo’s bulldog spokesman” had to say about the reports, and about recent polling numbers for the governor:
NYers saw with their own two eyes how @NYGovCuomo worked day & night to get us on the other side of this pandemic. Replaying the tape is the press’ job & the political attacks are expected & predictable, but this poll shows Gov’s favorability is rock solid https://t.co/RZPPlTdBuz
— Rich Azzopardi (@RichAzzopardi) February 16, 2021
While fact-checkers haven’t been too keen on fact-checking the statements of Cuomo and his handlers, others have not been so obliging:
Cuomo's nursing home directive cost lives; one-seventh of New York's nursing home population DIED as a result of the pandemic (& Cuomo's order, which botched early handling––detection & isolation––of cases). Then his admin did not disclose the deaths of more than 6,500 people… https://t.co/Wqy4Au3bdP
— Liz Wolfe (@lizzywol) February 16, 2021
But don't take it from me. Take it from sources like the Associated Press or ProPublica which have been doing an excellent job of working to bring this information to light: https://t.co/c97acLskPz
— Liz Wolfe (@lizzywol) February 16, 2021
There’s also the fact that the poll Azzopardi cited was conducted before those two big stories broke last week:
poll finished February 11. before recent revelations. https://t.co/5W64zc7Jtr
— Michael Young (@Mikeyoung88) February 16, 2021
Prominent Cuomo critic Janice Dean, who lost her in-laws to COVID after Cuomo’s disastrous nursing policy went into effect, responded accordingly:
— Janice Dean (@JaniceDean) February 16, 2021
These people care nothing about the vulnerable thousands of seniors that they sent into the nursing homes, infected, who then got others infected & then ultimately died. Rich is Cuomo's gaslighter. https://t.co/p6mAr1uwCi pic.twitter.com/WO2VzOlsnJ
— Scáthán (@M1ss_Karma) February 16, 2021
This wasn’t Azzopardi’s first noteworthy attempt at white knighting for the “Luv Guv.” Back in November, he publicly attacked the New York Post over a report on how Cuomo and his top aides were briefing reporters indoors without wearing masks despite the governor’s repeated attempts at mask-shaming others. That attack from Azzopardi didn’t go so well, either.
The facts are what they are: Cuomo’s March 25th nursing home order forced nursing homes to accept COVID positive patients at a time the pandemic was raging through the state. A few weeks later, New York changed how they calculated nursing home deaths from COVID, which obscured what the actual death numbers were.
When state lawmakers – including Democratic lawmakers – asked the Cuomo administration for more data on nursing home deaths over the summer, the state admittedly stalled them to avoid further scrutiny from the Trump administration. Several months after that, Cuomo’s house of cards began to fall courtesy of a Democrat attorney general and the few reporters and news outlets who have tried to hold his feet to the fire from the start.
As the Ben Shaprio quote goes, facts don’t care about your feelings – as inconvenient as those facts may be.