Published February 12, 2021
Democrats have rightly been demanding that former president Donald Trump be held accountable for the words and deeds that led to the death of five people in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. There’s another politician who ought to be held accountable for the deaths of far more Americans: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Cuomo, a Democrat, did not incite an insurrection, but his decision to send hospitalized covid-positive seniors back to their nursing homes and assisted-living facilities likely led to the deaths of thousands of people. More than 9,000 people who had tested positive for the coronavirus were sent back to these facilities under Cuomo’s orders. Given what was known even in the early days of the pandemic about covid-19’s transmissibility and the lethal threat it posed to the aged, this was a horrific decision. The state has said that more than 8,600 people died from the virus in nursing homes, many surely infected because of Cuomo’s order. New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a report last month that the true total is thousands higher. That alone should be grounds for his removal from office.
But it gets worse. The New York Post reported on Thursday that a top aide for the governor, Melissa DeRosa, said while speaking to a group of New York Democratic lawmakers that the Cuomo administration rebuffed earlier requests from the Justice Department and state legislature for updated figures for deaths in nursing homes because of fear of a potential federal investigation. If true, the Cuomo administration authorized a coverup of his activities to avoid potential political, and even legal, exposure.
Henry Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.