Several governors complained this week that President Joe Biden has been absent from calls with state leaders about efforts to battle COVID-19, leaving scandal-ridden New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in charge instead.
Cuomo, a pro-abortion Democrat, is accused of issuing a disastrous pandemic mandate that led to the deaths of more than 15,000 nursing home residents and then covering up the numbers. New York has maintained one of the nation’s highest death tolls and death rates since the pandemic began more than a year ago.
Yet, Cuomo is leading weekly national conference calls with governors about state and federal efforts to address the coronavirus, the Washington Examiner reports.
The Trump administration began the weekly conference calls with governors last year to work together on addressing the virus; Vice President Mike Pence led 39 of the 40 calls and Trump participated in eight, according to the report.
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This week, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts said Biden has not participated in any of the calls, and Vice President Kamala Harris only attended one.
“In their place, the calls are led by Cuomo, the chairman of the National Governors Association. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that Cuomo was put in charge because a change was needed. That change, apparently, was to have the governor who handled the pandemic worse than anyone else lead in Biden’s place,” according to the Examiner.
RealClear Politics, which first reported about the controversy, highlighted complaints from several governors, including Ricketts and New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu.
“It would go a long way if the president would just get on the phone, or the vice president would get on the phone and take questions. Allow us to ask the folks in charge questions,” Sununu said.
Others also complained but were not willing to go on the record, The Federalist reports. Their complaints included a “lack of guidance on how to spend the money allocated in the American Rescue Plan” and how to distribute vaccines and failures to communicate about the U.S. Food and Drug administration decision to halt the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because of reports of blood clots.
Allowing Cuomo to run the calls is another problem.
Approximately 15,000 people have died of COVID-19 in New York nursing homes since Cuomo issued an order requiring nursing homes to accept COVID patients, according to state health data.
Last year, the Cuomo administration publicly reported the death toll at about half of what the state Department of Health data showed, according to the New York Times.
In January, however, New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, released a report accusing Cuomo and his administration of covering up approximately 4,000 individuals’ deaths in nursing homes to COVID-19.
Then, in March, an explosive New York Times report accused several of Cuomo’s top aides of helping him to hide approximately 9,000 people’s deaths to COVID in nursing homes last year. At the same time, the Democrat governor was receiving massive media praise for his handling of the pandemic and getting ready to profit from his new book, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
According to Fox News, the alleged cover-up happened just four days before Cuomo sought “formal approval from a state ethics agency to earn outside income ” from the sales of his book.
Despite numerous, bipartisan calls to resign, Cuomo has refused to do so.