New York Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) has a famously short fuse.
The governor, who has been mired in a sexual misconduct scandal along with a probe into how he handled nursing homes during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, is now in another swirling storm.
Cuomo reportedly cashed in on the COVID-19 virus, pocketing $5.12 million for his memoir on the pandemic.
Cuomo’s “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic” was published in mid-October as the pandemic still raged on in the state.
“Cuomo’s contract — which he got despite his administration being accused of sending COVID-positive patients back into nursing homes, potentially spreading the deadly virus among the vulnerable elderly there — paid him $3.12 million last year and he was left with a little more than $3 million after editing expenses, according to his tax returns,” the New York Post reported. “He’s also set to receive another $2 million this year and next, the returns show.”
Of course, the New York press corps asked Cuomo about his book deal, something he wasn’t fond of.
During a Thursday press conference in Buffalo, a reporter asked Cuomo to respond to the “allegations out there that you made money on the backs of dead people,” per a report from Spectrum 1 News.
“That’s stupid,” the governor said. “Next question.”
Cuomo later tried to pull back the insult a bit, telling the reporter, “I thought your question was stupid and offensive.”
He later said: “I wrote a book saying this is what we should learn from what has happened so far in COVID because we’re not done and it’s going to continue. And if we don’t learn the lessons we are going to continue to make the same mistakes. That’s why I wrote the book. And by the way, that’s what happened.”
“This country made tremendous mistakes when it came to COVID. We politicized a public health emergency,” he added.
The governor – a darling of the mainstream media throughout the pandemic, which praised Cuomo for his handling of the crisis – is under investigation for nursing home deaths and later his administration’s alleged efforts to cover up COVID-19 deaths among the elderly, which is now near 14,000.
On March 25, 2020, the Democratic governor enacted a statewide directive that forced nursing homes to take recovering COVID-19 patients, regardless of whether or not they remained contagious.
“No resident shall be denied readmission or admission to the NH [nursing home] solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19. NHs are prohibited from requiring a hospitalized resident who is determined medically stable to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or readmission,” Cuomo’s order stated.
Before the order was rescinded on May 10, thousands of infected patients were sent into nursing homes.
“More than 4,500 recovering coronavirus patients were sent to New York’s already vulnerable nursing homes under a controversial state directive that was ultimately scrapped amid criticisms it was accelerating the nation’s deadliest outbreaks, according to a count by The Associated Press,” the AP wrote in May 2020.
The number was even higher according to a later account by the AP, which reported that “the state’s own count [shows the order] ushered more than 6,300 recovering virus patients into nursing homes at the height of the pandemic.”
Cuomo later claimed that the staggering death toll in New York nursing homes was the fault of the federal government. “We followed federal guidance on the nursing homes,” Cuomo said in late June 2020 on NBC’s “Today Show.”