Andrew Cuomo Denies His Order Killed Thousands of Nursing Home Residents: “We Didn’t Lose Anyone”

National   |   Kyle Drennen   |   May 19, 2020   |   5:43PM   |   Washington, DC

During a nine-minute softball interview with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on MSNBC Tuesday morning, anchor Stephanie Ruhle only asked a single nine-second question about the Democrat’s recently-changed policy of forcing COVID-positive patients to return to nursing homes. Nearly 5,000 residents in such facilities across the state have died of the virus since the policy was put in place in late March.

This was the extent to which Ruhle mentioned the controversy: “While I have you, you have been criticized for your comments about nursing homes. Some people say you did not act quickly enough. Too little, too late. What is your response to that criticism?” There was no mention of the death toll in New York nursing homes and she made sure to leave it as open-ended as possible.

As a result, Cuomo was able to easily dismiss any criticism and pretend that “we didn’t lose anyone for want of medical care, precautions, et cetera”:

I’m getting criticized now for doing too much. I have the strongest national provisions in place where staff of nursing homes must be tested twice per week. And the nursing homes are upset that this is too burdensome for them to do it. I understand that it’s burdensome, I understand it’s the most aggressive in the nation. But I also understand that this is the most vulnerable population in the most vulnerable place. We will have lost many Americans in this, Stephanie, but the only solace we’re going to be able to take is we can say we did everything we could. And we didn’t lose anyone for want of medical care, precautions, et cetera. So, yes, they’re unhappy that I’m saying two tests a week for staff. But I want to make sure every one of us can say we did everything that we could.

The anchor allowed Cuomo to make all those claims without challenge or a follow-up.

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On Monday, CBS This Morning provided a full report on nursing homes being hard hit by coronavirus, but avoided talking about Cuomo’s policy making the situation worse.

On Tuesday, instead of grilling the Governor about his mishandling of the coronavirus response, most of the interview was focused on teeing him up to slam Republicans for not signing on to Democratic relief legislation. Ruhle referenced an interview she had just concluded with a Republican lawmaker: “Governor, what is the latest on getting aid to your state? Just moments ago, I’m assuming you heard Congressman Kevin Brady from Texas, not necessarily naming you, but saying there are some governors out there that aren’t actually helping their states.”

Cuomo ranted: “You know, Washington, they can get away with dealing in the abstract or dealing in a reality that they create. It has nothing to do with the reality that’s going on in this nation, however.”

Ruhle wondered: “So what is Congressman Brady talking about?” Cuomo seized the chance to rail against the GOP and big business:

I have no idea what they’re talking about, except I know that they are doing what I thought they would do. They’ve given money to business, big business, with few strings, because that’s what they believe. How do you stimulate the economy? Give more money to business….Here’s the crystal ball. They’re going to provide additional money for business bailouts, call them loans, call them PPP, whatever you want to call it. It’s money for business. The business will turn around and lay off American workers and will give bonuses to executives and all on the taxpayer dime….That’s how they’re going to raise their stock price, by laying off workers and increasing their profitability and they’ll do it with the taxpayers’ money and then we’ll have to pay additional unemployed for the laidoff people. And it will be a corporate scam and people will be disgusted with government once again.

As the easy interview concluded, Cuomo praised Ruhle: “And thank you for the good work you’re doing, Stephanie. Thank you very much.” She may have done “good work” at helping Cuomo push his talking points, but certainly not when it came to being a journalist.

Back on May 11, NBC Nightly News actually called out Cuomo for creating “a path to disaster,” so Ruhle had no excuse not to have all the information at her fingertips to press him on the topic. Note: Kyle Drennen is an MRC News Analyst and a graduate of Providence College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Political Science. This was originally posted on the Media Research Center blog NewsBusters.