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PIERS MORGAN: The Emmy for shameful lying, slippery obfuscation goes to… Gov ‘Saint’ Andrew Cuomo’

When New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo held his lengthy daily pressers during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, I tweeted my praise for his style.

‘Incredibly impressed by Gov. Cuomo’s leadership,’ I wrote last May. ‘Firm, factual, empathetic.’

That was certainly how it seemed at the time.

I found Cuomo’s calm detail-oriented empathy-laced authority a stark and gratifying contrast to Donald Trump‘s appalling science-refuting bogus cure-spewing handling of the crisis at presidential level.

And many agreed with me, as Cuomo was showered in plaudits in mainstream and social media.

Nobody was more pleased with his performance than the Governor himself, who embarked on an extraordinary victory tour last Fall promoting a book entitled: ‘American Crisis: leadership lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic.’

When New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo held his lengthy daily pressers during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, I tweeted my praise for his style

Cuomo was even awarded an international Emmy award in late November, 'in recognition of his leadership during the Covid-19 pandemic and his masterful use of television to inform and calm people around the world' Pictured: Gov. Cuomo at a press conference next to aide Melissa DeRosa

Cuomo was even awarded an international Emmy award in late November, ‘in recognition of his leadership during the Covid-19 pandemic and his masterful use of television to inform and calm people around the world’ Pictured: Gov. Cuomo at a press conference next to aide Melissa DeRosa

It turns out that Governor Cuomo is an insincere, inauthentic, shameless liar who deliberately hid the shocking truth about New York State's nursing-home death toll to protect his self-acclaimed hero halo

It turns out that Governor Cuomo is an insincere, inauthentic, shameless liar who deliberately hid the shocking truth about New York State’s nursing-home death toll to protect his self-acclaimed hero halo 

It seemed dangerously premature for any Governor to be writing a self-aggrandising tome about his brilliant leadership in a crisis that still had a long way to run.

But Cuomo was very keen to ride the vainglorious self-publicity wave and his ego soared to Trump levels as he did so.

In an interview with New York magazine to promote the book, he even described his own briefings as ‘incredible’.

‘People wanted information,’ Cuomo explained. ‘They tuned in, and the communication was on a wholly different level. There was a sincerity and authenticity and a credibility that they discerned from the briefings. And they believed it.’

Yes, we did.

Cuomo was even awarded an international Emmy award in late November, ‘in recognition of his leadership during the Covid-19 pandemic and his masterful use of television to inform and calm people around the world.’

This struck me as absurd given the second wave of the pandemic was now beginning to hit America, and New York, hard, and it was very clear that this crisis was far from over.

‘WHAT?’ I tweeted on hearing the Emmy news. ‘This is ridiculous.’

But the growing cult of Cuomo would hear no such sniping.

During the presentation of Cuomo’s Emmy, liberal celebrities queued up to pay nauseating homage.

‘Thank you for your leadership during these trying times,’ drooled Robert DeNiro ‘We are New York Tough – smart, disciplined, united and loving.’

And Billy Crystal gushed: ‘In the darkest days of the pandemic, your daily briefings gave us hope, gave us clarity, gave us the truth and gave us something that we were not getting from Washington: leadership. You are the epitome of New York tough.’

In his acceptance speech, Cuomo said of his briefings: ‘They offered only one thing; authentic truth. But sometimes that’s enough.’

Well yes, unless it’s not actually the authentic truth obviously.

Cuomo paraded around the late-night talk shows boasting of his ‘truth-telling.’

Cuomo paraded around the late-night talk shows boasting of his 'truth-telling.' CNN viewers were even treated to regular schmaltzy appearances by the Governor on his brother Chris Cuomo's prime-time show

Cuomo paraded around the late-night talk shows boasting of his ‘truth-telling.’ CNN viewers were even treated to regular schmaltzy appearances by the Governor on his brother Chris Cuomo’s prime-time show

Fans branded Andrew and Chris Cuomo's light, jokey sibling exchanges 'adorable'. Others, including many journalists, found them increasingly unedifying and inappropriate. And today, they seem even more so

Fans branded Andrew and Chris Cuomo’s light, jokey sibling exchanges ‘adorable’. Others, including many journalists, found them increasingly unedifying and inappropriate. And today, they seem even more so

CNN viewers were even treated to regular schmaltzy appearances by the Governor on his brother Chris Cuomo’s prime-time show.

During one of them Chris told Andrew: ‘I hope you are able to appreciate what you did in your state and what it means for the rest of the country now and what it will always mean to those who love and care about you the most.’

Fans branded their light, jokey sibling exchanges ‘adorable’.

Others, including many journalists, found them increasingly unedifying and inappropriate.

And today, they seem even more so.

Because it turns out that Governor Cuomo is an insincere, inauthentic, shameless liar who deliberately hid the shocking truth about New York State’s nursing-home death toll to protect his self-acclaimed hero halo.

There’s been widespread speculation for months that Cuomo had been withholding the true scale of what really happened in nursing homes.

Now, in a bombshell revelation, the New York Post has reported that his top aide Melissa DeRosa, the Secretary to the Governor, privately apologised to Democratic lawmakers for rejecting a legislative request last August to report an accurate death toll – and confessed ‘we froze’ because they were terrified the true numbers would ‘be used against us’ by federal prosecutors.

‘We were in a position,’ DeRosa said, ‘where we weren’t sure if what we were going to give to the Department of Justice, or what we give to you guys, what we start saying, was going to be used against us while we weren’t sure if there was going to be an investigation.’

In other words, they lied to save their slippery skins from proper accountability.

It wasn’t just legislators who were rebuffed.

Cuomo’s administration also refused requests from the news media — including the New York Post – and battled a Freedom of Information lawsuit filed by the Empire Center on Public Policy.

The Governor only disclosed data on the number of residents who died in their nursing homes, not those who died in hospital. As recently as January 19, that official figure was 8,711 people. And this Wednesday, Health Commissioner Howard Zucker finally released new data revealing that the real number was 13,297 – which is 52% more than the official toll, and the total rises to 15,049 when assisted living/adult care facilities are included

The Governor only disclosed data on the number of residents who died in their nursing homes, not those who died in hospital. As recently as January 19, that official figure was 8,711 people. And this Wednesday, Health Commissioner Howard Zucker finally released new data revealing that the real number was 13,297 – which is 52% more than the official toll, and the total rises to 15,049 when assisted living/adult care facilities are included

Now, in a bombshell revelation, the New York Post has reported that his top aide Melissa DeRosa, the Secretary to the Governor, privately apologised to Democratic lawmakers for rejecting a legislative request last August to report an accurate death toll - and confessed 'we froze' because they were terrified the true numbers would 'be used against us' by federal prosecutors

Now, in a bombshell revelation, the New York Post has reported that his top aide Melissa DeRosa, the Secretary to the Governor, privately apologised to Democratic lawmakers for rejecting a legislative request last August to report an accurate death toll – and confessed ‘we froze’ because they were terrified the true numbers would ‘be used against us’ by federal prosecutors

The Governor only disclosed data on the number of residents who died in their nursing homes, not those who died in hospital.

As recently as January 19, that official figure was 8,711 people.

But the next day, NY Attorney General Letitia James issued a damning report confirming that the state had undercounted the number of nursing home deaths by as much as 50%.

And this Wednesday, Health Commissioner Howard Zucker finally released new data revealing that the real number was 13,297 – which is 52% more than the official toll, and the total rises to 15,049 when assisted living/adult care facilities are included.

Why has Cuomo been so desperate to keep this information secret?

The answer can be found in two decisions he took during the time he was hosting his ‘incredible’ daily press briefings.

On March 25, he ordered nursing homes to accept thousands of potentially COVID-positive patients when they were discharged from hospital, without requiring the residents to test negative for the virus first. Many – nobody knows the exact number, and we will never know – would have been infected with the virus and were thus being sent back to nursing homes full of other old, vulnerable people whom they would then also infect.

On May 10, Cuomo reversed this terrible decision, but not before an incalculable amount of deadly damage had been done.

The Associated Press has now revealed that more than 9,000 patients were sent back to nursing homes in that period – a figure 40% higher than official data.

So, Cuomo has persistently lied about the number of people being sent back to nursing homes, and about the number of nursing home residents who died from the virus.

After repeatedly refusing to answer questions about the real numbers, Cuomo finally snapped two weeks ago and exclaimed: ‘Who cares?’

In an astonishing outburst he said: ‘Whether a person died in a hospital or died in a nursing home…people died,’ he said. ‘But who cares 33 [died in a hospital], 28 [died in a nursing home.] They died.’

Of course, relatives of the victims cared very much and were outraged by his grotesquely offensive tone which they branded ‘callous’, ‘gutless’ and ‘disgusting.’

his arrogant disregard for people's feelings was not entirely surprising given Cuomo's breath-taking antics around Thanksgiving when he told New Yorkers to stay home, then let slip he'd be ignoring CDC advice to have his family including his mother and daughters over for a big party. Pictured: Gov. Cuomo having dinner with his three daughters Cara, Michaela and Mariah Kennedy-Cuomo along with Mariah's boyfriend Tellef Lundevall in April

his arrogant disregard for people’s feelings was not entirely surprising given Cuomo’s breath-taking antics around Thanksgiving when he told New Yorkers to stay home, then let slip he’d be ignoring CDC advice to have his family including his mother and daughters over for a big party. Pictured: Gov. Cuomo having dinner with his three daughters Cara, Michaela and Mariah Kennedy-Cuomo along with Mariah’s boyfriend Tellef Lundevall in April

Cuomo cancelled the Thanksgiving plan when it sparked a furore about his hypocrisy but as befits Cuomo's self-anointed saintly status, he didn't admit doing anything wrong, or apologize. Pictured: Cuomo with his mother Matilda and daughter Cara (left)

Cuomo cancelled the Thanksgiving plan when it sparked a furore about his hypocrisy but as befits Cuomo’s self-anointed saintly status, he didn’t admit doing anything wrong, or apologize. Pictured: Cuomo with his mother Matilda and daughter Cara (left)

Yet this arrogant disregard for people’s feelings was not entirely surprising given Cuomo’s breath-taking antics around Thanksgiving when he told New Yorkers to stay home, then let slip he’d be ignoring CDC advice to have his family including his mother and daughters over for a big party. He cancelled the plan when it sparked a furore about his hypocrisy but as befits Cuomo’s self-anointed saintly status, he didn’t admit doing anything wrong, or apologize.

That incident was bad.

This new development is potentially criminal.

Until now, Governor Cuomo has been very keen to blame former President Trump and his administration for New York having one of America’s worst covid death tolls.

‘New York’s problem was caused by federal negligence,’ Cuomo raged last October. ‘New York was ambushed by Covid. I believe that this was on a par with the greatest failure to detect an enemy attack since Pearl Harbor.’

Now it would appear that it was Cuomo’s own appalling negligence in the way he handled New York’s nursing homes that accounted for much of the death toll.

And it also appears that he has been lying about it, and deliberately covering up the truth even from fellow Democratic lawmakers.

If Donald Trump had done this, the liberal screams of outrage – led by the likes of Robert De Niro – would be bellowing furiously all over America.

It’s time to stop giving Governor Cuomo awards and start holding him to proper account for the needless deaths of thousands of people. 


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