A former official said to Politico, “If he saw bad news, he pivoted,” and that policies were reacted accordingly.
Former governor of New York in disgrace Andrew Cuomo’s approach towards the pandemic was heavily fueled by politics, preserving his ego, rather than science as such, according to a new study.
Ex-state health officials described Cuomo as a chaotic environment in which public health experts were constantly responding to Cuomo’s “ridiculous demands” that were expected to prevail, Politico reported Friday.
NY ASSEMBLY FINDS OVERWHELMING EVIDENCE’ CUOMO ENGAGED in SEXUAL HARASSMENT
Cuomo, who quit in August amid numerous scandals, emphasized his Emmy-winning televised presse conferences over all else. This “diverted people’s attention to serve the press conference instead of serving the running of the State,” a former Department of Health staffer stated.
The staffer stated that it was more about the press conference than the issue he was discussing at the press conference.
Cuomo was “managing by press release, press conference.” He would pivot when he saw a negative story and we would react accordingly. He was a great guy and everyone who worked with him accepted it. He got a lot kudos,” one member of the COVID-19 taskforce, who was a former governor, told Politico.
Cuomo requested the state health department to send an “army” consisting of approximately 5,000 employees to enforce COVID-19 rules at restaurants in the summer of 2020 to promote his crackdown against violators. Cuomo reportedly asked the state health department to deploy an “army” of roughly 5,000 employees to enforce COVID-19-related rules at restaurants. However, he was only able to enlist 50 employees.
Politico reported that “[T]op officials quickly formulated a plan they hoped would placate governor mercurial until he moved onto some other idea.” It worked and was one of many subterfuges state officials devised to meet demands from Cuomo’s office. They believed that the demand was based in science, not politics. According to many people involved in the state’s Covid response, the constant pressure from Cuomo’s office led to the departure of dozens high-ranking staff members during the period after New York became the epicenter of the viral epidemic.
Rich Azzopardi (Cuomo’s spokesperson) blasted Politico for reporting the allegations.
“These are second- or third-hand interpretations by an employee whose only contact with the Governor and his top staff was during live COVID briefings. The fact that this line was even pursued in unrelated matters speaks volumes about the way this whole situation was politicized, and weaponized,” Azzopardi stated in a statement.
He said that the pandemic was “unprecedented”, there was no support from the federal governments and, as with many governors, it required a centralized all-hands-on deck response. “We listened carefully to the science and pushed back against bureaucrats. The bureaucracy has been trying every day to make amends.”
Last week, the New York state Assembly Judiciary Committee published a report that stated that it had “overwhelming evidence” that Cuomo was involved in sexual harassment in multiple instances while in office and that Cuomo gave top state officials instructions to help him create his book “American Crisis: Leadership Lesons from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
According to the report, a senior official complained that the book was hindering his or her ability work on COVID-related issues.
According to the report, Cuomo “utilized the state resources and property, which included work by Executive Chamber staff, in order to write, promote, and publish his book about his handling of COVID-19 – a project for the cost of which he was guaranteed at most $5.2 million in personal gain.”
Investigators found that Cuomo’s administration was not transparent with Americans about the deaths of COVID-19-affected residents of nursing homes. They also discovered that Cuomo edited and revised a state Department of Health report that included out-of-facility deaths. This revelation came after Cuomo faced criticism for handling the crisis in nursing homes.
According to the report, Howard Zucker, state health commissioner, was not able to meet with Cuomo during the pandemic. He also stated that he “didn’t feel able” to freely speak to Cuomo because he rejected advice that was against the Chamber’s view.
Cuomo repeatedly denied wrongdoing and vigorously defends his pandemic response.