The decade's most triggering comedy
On Monday, a woman who lost her mother to COVID-19 in a New York nursing home told Fox News that NBC News asked her to refrain from using New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s name when she spoke of her mother’s death. After she made the claim, a review of the video of an interview she referenced found that the woman did call out Cuomo by name but appeared to correct herself, saying, “I didn’t say that as well as I could.”
Dawn Best, whose mother died in April 2020, told Brian Kilmeade of “Fox & Friends” that she was told by NBC News, “Can you say that a different way without Governor Cuomo’s name, and just say New York failed you?” Best continued, “So I had no choice. So I had to say, ‘New York failed me.’”
Best told the chilling story of how her mother died from dehydration in a New York nursing home after Cuomo’s state department of health issued a directive on March 25, 2020, calling for nursing homes to accept COVID-19 patients. Asked about Cuomo’s claim that he had been following CDC guidelines, Best snapped, “That’s a complete and utter lie. It’s part of the Cuomo cover-up. The media was complicit with it and it’s a complete and total lie.”
The March 25 advisory required nursing homes to accept “the expedited receipt of residents returning from hospitals” if the patients were determined to be medically stable. “No resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the [nursing home] solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19,” the advisory read. “[Nursing homes] are prohibited from requiring a hospitalized resident who is determined medically stable to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or readmission.”
Daughter who lost her mother in a nursing home accuses the media of protecting Gov. Andrew Cuomo, slams New York’s response on the nursing home crisis. pic.twitter.com/A38ehzrCnq
— Brian Kilmeade (@kilmeade) February 1, 2021
At one point in her discussion with Kilmeade, Best claimed that NBC asked her to refrain from using Governor Cuomo’s name:
KILMEADE: Dawn, how did it happen that when you said Governor Cuomo failed us, it ends up being, “New York failed us.”
BEST: Well, I’d like to say, Governor Cuomo failed us now, am I allowed to say it on your program?
BEST: All right. There we go. Well, I kinda got used to it because the media was never letting me say “Governor Cuomo: all along, and it was being cut out of every interview that I was in and so then I started starting every sentence that they asked with, “Governor Cuomo,” so they couldn’t do that to me. So then they were forced to literally ask me to cut out Governor Cuomo’s name.
Lester Holt’s show wasn’t the only one to do it. So what happened specifically on that show was I was telling them that Governor Cuomo failed us; his book should be named, not “Lessons In Leadership,” it should be “Lessons In Failure.” She stopped me and she said to me, “Can you differently–,” or something or like this, “Can you say that a different way without Governor Cuomo’s name, and just say New York failed you?” So I had no choice. So I had to say, “New York failed me.”
KILMEADE: So it was NBC News, but who was the reporter?
BEST: Kristen, I don’t know her last name.
KILMEADE: And how did they get New York in that line? Did you repeat it like they asked you to, instead of Governor Cuomo?
BEST: Absolutely, yes. They told me to say “New York” and to take Governor Cuomo’s name out. Now, I was very, very accustomed to that, and I just wish that Governor Cuomo did as good a job of protecting the elderly as the press has done all along protecting him.
After Best’s interview on Fox made headlines, an NBC News source provided Mediaite with the full video of the interview with NBC News correspondent Kristen Dahlgren she had appeared to reference. According to Mediaite’s transcript, the video shows that Best expressly criticized Cuomo during the interview but ended up correcting herself.
“Governor Cuomo has written a book ‘Lessons In Leadership.’ He knew that the numbers were twice as high. And he was hiding it. And he was hiding it because what we’re gonna find out and we’re finding out is that New York State had was such a failure. His handling – his book’s named ‘The Lessons In Leadership,’ I believe. His book should be ‘Lessons in Failures,'” Best told Dahlgren. “New York State was a tremendous failure. Most of the so many unnecessary deaths, the nursing home deaths were preventable. They they didn’t, there was a certain amount that obviously would have happened because of their natural natural circumstances. But they were, they were set up and I didn’t say that as well as I could. If you want to ask me in a different way I could.”
“Did New York state fail your mother?” Dahlgren asked.
Best responded: “New York State failed my mother and failed 1000s of people’s mothers and fathers and I know many of these people, and I watched their suffering every day.”
Along with blasting Cuomo and the mainstream media, Best also revealed details about the tragic death of her mother:
KILMEADE: Right. And that report that came out was scathing but he doesn’t acknowledge it. Let’s talk about your mom for a second. She was getting care, you said, 24/7, until the pandemic hit. She ends up dying of dehydration. How does that go back to the governor?
BEST: I’d like to know how this happened. My mom was in the best nursing home, getting the best care, being watched 24/7, fine and healthy and happy, and within three weeks of his deadly directive where he sent the Covid-positive patients into the nursing homes, my mother was dead from neglect. That is because the nursing home was overrun with Covid patients. I know this because the doctor told me when I called and asked what was wrong with my mother, she said, and this is a quote, she was frantic, she said, “The Covid is everywhere; it’s in every unit; the doctors have it; the nurses have it, and your mother may have it.” I had her tested, she didn’t have it. My mother died of neglect because of Governor Cuomo.
KILMEADE: And you don’t think it was the hospital that just stopped looking in on her because they were overwhelmed by the Coronavirus?
BEST: Well, she was in the nursing home. In the nursing home, they were giving her the best level of care and the nurses were wonderful and they did care, so I believe they were doing the best that they possibly could, but under the circumstances they couldn’t handle it. You can have — they’re short-staffed as it is; they could not handle what he put on them. And the nursing home begged him not to send the Covid patients there. They knew it would happen. There was not the proper PBE equipment. Governor Cuomo knew it would happen at the time. It was after the 3/25 directive; he said that it was like setting fire in dry grass.
Kilmeade pointed out Cuomo’s remark from last week in which he said, “What difference does it make whether they died in a hospital or they died in a nursing home. They still died.”
“Yeah, that was pretty unbelievable, the things that he said,” Best replied, accusing Cuomo of having known that “his record of deaths, fatalities in nursing homes, was the worst in the whole country.” Excluding deaths that occurred out of the hospital, she said, masked the total number of deaths that were counted as nursing home fatalities. “We’ve been screaming from the hilltops to release the numbers and it took them a very long time to finally do that,” she said.
“He has no compassion,” Best continued. “He has no remorse. It’s outrageous. It’s infuriating. Our family, and unfortunately I’m not alone, there are thousands and thousands, three times as many times died in the nursing homes in New York than died on 9/11. And everybody needs to let that sink in. And these are healthy people, that he put COVID patients in there. How would you like to sleep next to a COVID patient tonight? A third-grader would know not to send COVID patients into a nursing home. It’s inexcusable and I believe that he did it for political reasons.”
Kilmeade asked about Cuomo’s claim that he had been following CDC guidelines. Best snapped, “That’s a complete and utter lie. It’s part of the Cuomo cover-up. The media was complicit with it and it’s a complete and total lie. He signed the 3/25 directive, knowing what would happen. I believe his actions were criminal. He needs to be held accountable. The Democrats have done nothing all this time. We have begged them…”
Best also praised Democrat Assemblyman Ron Kim for publicly criticizing New York officials over the nursing home directive. In August, the Press-Republican reported:
Kim and numerous lawmakers have reacted with skepticism to a report issued by the state Department of Health that suggested the virus spread at nursing homes was caused by infected nursing home workers introducing the contagion at their place of employment.
“It is no coincidence that the ‘experts’ who authored the Department of Health report on this issue exonerated (Cuomo) from his fatal decision of sending COVID-19 patients back to nursing homes, have strong ties to his administration and have benefited from his policies and contracts,” Kim said.
Some fact-checkers have said that it is unfair to blame Cuomo’s directive for the death rate at nursing home facilities, but the Democratic governor has also been called out by fact-checkers for making false claims about the situation, including claiming that the state requiring a nursing home to take on Covid-positive patients “never happened,” as left-leaning CNN concluded in October (formatting adjusted):
Cuomo said that the advisory was a precaution if hospitals became overwhelmed — calling it an “anticipatory rule” — which he said didn’t happen. “We never needed nursing home beds because we always had hospital beds,” Cuomo told Finger Lakes News. “So it just never happened in New York where we needed to say to a nursing home, ‘We need you to take this person even though they’re Covid-positive.’ It never happened.”
Facts First: Cuomo’s assertion that “it never happened” is false. According to a report from the New York State Department of Health, “6,326 COVID-positive residents were admitted to [nursing home] facilities” following Cuomo’s mandate that nursing homes accept the readmission of Covid-positive patients from hospitals. Whether or not this was “needed,” it did in fact happen.
This article has been updated to provide context and partial transcript from Best’s interview with Dahlgren.