Tapper Blasts Cuomo for Hiding Nursing Home Deaths, Trump ‘Not an Excuse’


During Sunday’s State of the Union, CNN co-host Jake Tapper broke with the rest of the Zucker-controlled network and issued a full-throated condemnation of Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo; following a bombshell New York Post report exposed how the Governor covered up the COVID deaths of nursing home residents. It came after CNN had largely ignored the growing scandal for days.

The Post report and an Associated Press report about Cuomo’s deadly decision both dropped on Thursday even. But CNN refused to cover either of the stories until Saturday’s New Day, with Tapper’s televised editorial on Sunday was just the second time it was mentioned and the first rant against the network’s favorite governor. And unsurprisingly, Tapper eventually parleyed his Cuomo comments into bashing Senate Republicans.

“We just saw a small but respectable number of politicians willing to break with their partisan allegiances and criticize an intimidating leader in the face of loss of life,” Tapper touted at the top of his closing segment. After noting he wasn’t talking about the Senate Republicans who voted to convict President Trump, he told viewers he was praising Democrats.

After recounting the general nature of Cuomo’s scandalous nursing home order, Tapper reminding folks of the previous shoe that dropped with undercounting deaths:

It’s, of course, impossible to exactly ascertain how many nursing home deaths are linked to the Cuomo directive. And certainly part of the reason is that the Cuomo administration’s, quote, ‘published nursing home data reflected and may have been undercounted by as much 50 percent,’ according to fellow Democrat and New York Attorney General Latisha James.

Tapper then called out the Governor for refusing to appear on his show “despite dozens of requests over the past year, including this past week.”

 

 

Getting to the crux of the Post’s bombshell, Tapper informed viewers of the private, and recorded, phone call Cuomo Secretary Melissa DeRosa had with Democratic state lawmakers where she admitted to the cover-up:

Last August, New York legislators pressed Cuomo for more information, and that’s where this latest private admission, this latest development in the scandal from his Secretary Melissa DeRosa comes in. She said that the data was withheld because, quote, “right around the same time,” they were asking for it, “President Trump turns this into a giant political football. He starts tweeting that we killed everyone in nursing homes. He directs the Department of Justice to do an investigation into us. Basically, we froze,” unquote.

That was followed up with a soundbite showing DeRosa got her “political football” excuse from a Cuomo press conference last month. And Tapper clearly wasn’t putting up with their Trump blaming.

“But where those people died and why they died and if they died because of Cuomo’s March directive, that is information in the public interest,” he declared. “And fear of political enemies using the data against you, that’s not an excuse for covering it up from the public.”

After quoting a few New York Democrats who condemned their Governor, with one calling it “criminal,” Tapper began to shift; using the situation to bash Congressional Republicans:

Among the Governor’s chief critics, is New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, a Republican who refused to hold Trump accountable for the loss of life under his watch because of the mishandling of the pandemic, or the January 6th MAGA terrorist attack at the capitol. Stefanik, in fact, helped spread Trump’s big lie. So, you might find it difficult to take seriously Stefanik’s stated outrage.

“Because if you’re only upset about bad, even fatal leadership decisions and behavior based on the partisan affiliation of that leader, you’re not operating from a place of righteousness. You’re operating from a place of craven self-interest,” he proclaimed before railing against Senate Republicans for a bit.

The transcript is below, click “expand” to read:

CNN’s State of the Union
February 14, 2021
9:52:41 a.m. Eastern

JAKE TAPPER: We just saw a small but respectable number of politicians willing to break with their partisan allegiances and criticize an intimidating leader in the face of loss of life. I’m not talking about the seven Senate Republicans who voted to conflict Donald Trump. Senators Burr, Cassidy, Connors, Murkowski, Romney, Sasse, and Toomey.

I’m talking about the small number of Democratic officials in New York publically expressing outrage after the latest development in the scandal surrounding New York Governor Cuomo and the numbers of New York nursing home residents who were fatally infected with COVID.

You may recall the Cuomo administration last March told nursing homes, quote, “no resident shall be denied readmission or admission to the nursing home solely based on confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19,” unquote.

Nursing homes took in thousands of seniors with COVID, potentially infecting thousands more, such as 89-year-old Norman Arbeeny. After the Cuomo directive, his family pulled him out of a nursing home after he already had gotten a fever. And Arbeeny died at home from COVID. Now, did he get COVID because of Cuomo’s directive? We don’t know for sure, but his family says it’s not rocket science.

DANIEL ARBEENY (Son): It was the absolute worst decision anybody could make in a time of a pandemic.

TAPPER: It’s, of course, impossible to exactly ascertain how many nursing home deaths are linked to the Cuomo directive. And certainly part of the reason is that the Cuomo administration’s, quote, “published nursing home data reflected and may have been undercounted by as much 50 percent,” according to fellow Democrat and New York Attorney General Latisha James.

Now, that’s because infected nursing home residents who were then taken to hospitals where they died, they were omitted from the data. An interesting decision for an administration under fire for months; for the nursing home directive.

So, Governor Cuomo, who has declined to appear on this show despite dozens of requests over the past year, including this past week, made a bad decision that may have cost lives. And then his administration hid that data from the public. Cuomo issued an executive order changing the advisory on May 10 requiring patients to test negative before returning to their nursing homes. But that was obviously too late for those already infected.

Last August, New York legislators pressed Cuomo for more information, and that’s where this latest private admission, this latest development in the scandal from his secretary Melissa DeRosa comes in. She said that the data was withheld because, quote, “right around the same time,” they were asking for it, “President Trump turns this into a giant political football. He starts tweeting that we killed everyone in nursing homes. He directs the Department of Justice to do an investigation into us. Basically, we froze,” unquote.

In a public statement Friday, she also blamed the second wave of the virus for the delay in reporting. But this all fit in perfectly with what Governor Cuomo said himself on January 29 when asked about the damning report from the state attorney general.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): It’s not about pointing fingers or blame. It’s that this became a political football, right? Look, whether a person died in a hospital or died in a nursing home, it’s — the people died. People died.

TAPPER: But where those people died and why they died and if they died because of Cuomo’s March directive, that is information in the public interest. And fear of political enemies using the data against you, that’s not an excuse for covering it up from the public. This was Democrat New York City Mayor de Blasio’s reaction after reading about DeRosa’s comments in the New York Post, which broke the story.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D-NY): It’s a really disturbing report. It’s very troubling. We’ve got to know more. We now need a full accounting of what happened. Think about seniors who — their lives were in the balance.

TAPPER: “Because of your decisions, thousands of people died who did not have to die,” tweeted a Democratic state legislature. “This is a betrayal of the public trust,” wrote another. “This is criminal,” said yet another.

Among the Governor’s chief critics, is New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, a Republican who refused to hold Trump accountable for the loss of life under his watch because of the mishandling of the pandemic, or the January 6th MAGA terrorist attack at the capitol. Stefanik, in fact, helped spread Trump’s big lie. So, you might find it difficult to take seriously Stefanik’s stated outrage.”

Because if you’re only upset about bad, even fatal leadership decisions and behavior based on the partisan affiliation of that leader, you’re not operating from a place of righteousness. You’re operating from a place of craven self-interest.

(…)



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