White House press sec dodges questions about NY Governor Cuomo’s nursing home failures
Noah David Alter | The Post Millennial
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki appeared on ABC on Sunday morning, during which she was asked about the coverup of nursing home deaths in New York.
“Last week President Biden cited Andrew Cuomo as the gold standard for leadership during the pandemic,” ABC anchor Jon Karl said, playing a direct quote from Biden.
“Now we’ve seen that Governor Cuomo has allegedly undercounted nursing home deaths, misled legislators in New York, and he called a New York Assemblyman, Ron Kim raising questions, basically threatening to destroy him.”
“Does President Biden still consider Andrew Cuomo the gold standard when it comes to leadership during the pandemic?” Psaki was asked.
“He’s plays an important role in ensuring that we’re coordinating closely and getting assistance out to people of his state and states across the country, and we’ll continue to do that,” Psaki responded.
“There of course will be a process, investigations, we’ll leave that to others to determine, the appropriate law enforcement authorities to determine how that path is going to move as we look forward.”
“But we’re going to continue to work with a range of governors, including of course Governor Cuomo, because we think the people of New York, the people of states across the country, need assistance, not just to get through the pandemic, but to get through this difficult economic time.”
Noting that she did not directly answer the question, Karl asked again “does President Biden still believe that Andrew Cuomo is the gold standard, represents the gold standard in leadership during this pandemic? Yes or no.”
“It doesn’t always have to be a yes or no answer, Jon,” Psaki responded.
A report released by the New York Attorney General at the end of January revealed that New York may have undercounted the number of coronavirus deaths in nursing homes by as much as 50 percent over the course of the pandemic, sparking outrage from both Republicans and Democrats, the latter of whom expressed high levels of support for Cuomo throughout 2020.
Governor Cuomo’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, later admitted in a call with other Democrats that the nursing home deaths were undercounted to prevent former President Donald Trump from using it against them as a campaign issue, with Democrats seeking to center the blame for the pandemic and resulting deaths on the former President.