In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) was heralded by fellow Democrats and many in the media for his leveled but strong approach to the public health crisis, including his daily press briefings that were watched by liberals across the nation. But new evidence appears to paint a different picture of the Democrat’s alleged triumphs as the pandemic worked its way into American life.
A new report from Politico describes the “frantic” environment that was the governor’s office at the height of the coronavirus, even as the media was touting Cuomo’s efficiency and leadership.
Writing Friday, Politico’s Shannon Young and Anna Gronewold said the summer of 2020 in the New York governor’s mansion was riddled with “ridiculous demands” and “impossible requests.”
“A lot of people left”
For their report, Young and Gronewold interviewed a number of current and former state Health Department officials, the vast majority of whom requested anonymity in order to speak freely on the topic.
Among the evidence of Cuomo’s mismanagement of the pandemic, Politico reported, was his insistence on deploying roughly half of the New York Department of Health’s 5,000 employees to serve as an “army” of ticket-writers who would crack down on businesses that failed to comply with the then-governor’s restrictions.
Officials “worked around” the allegedly “impossible request” with some strategic moves. According to Politico, one official “said he told department leaders on the call to ‘sign up’ about 50 agency staffers and ‘send out pictures’ of their enforcement actions on their Twitter accounts.”
The move worked, Politico said.
The report also cited actions by the former governor that state health officials felt were more political than science-driven.
“That’s why a lot of people left,” Democrat state Assemblymember Richard Gottfried told Politico. “It’s not that they felt overworked. It’s that they felt that they were not being allowed to do their jobs in a professional manner.”
Others told the outlet Cuomo’s daily press briefings on the coronavirus — which actually won an Emmy Award in 2020 — became more of a priority than the actual pandemic, consuming countless hours and resources as staffers prepared for the events, oftentimes at the last minute.
Some even complained about Cuomo’s tendency to make announcements or off-handed comments about policies at these pressers with no advanced notice, leaving staffers and other officials at a loss as to what they were supposed to be doing.
Of course, these complaints pale in comparison to the findings of an investigation by the state attorney general into the alleged mistreatment of state officials by the governor’s office, as well as the alleged cover-up of COVID-related deaths in nursing homes in the Empire State. It was all on Cuomo’s watch.