At least nine top officials in the New York State Health Department have quit in disgust, citing Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s obnoxious management style and condescending dismissal of their coronavirus advice, according to The New York Times.
In August, the deputy commissioner for public health resigned, according to the report. Shortly afterward, both the medical director for epidemiology and the director of the Bureau of Communicable Disease Control abruptly quit.
And last month, the state epidemiologist announced her resignation amid New York’s disastrous vaccine rollout, according to The Times.
Five anonymous sources within the state Health Department groused to the newspaper that the string of departures was caused by Cuomo’s arrogant, disrespectful and authoritarian attitude.
“Their concern had an almost singular focus: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo,” The Times reported. “Even as the pandemic continues to rage and New York struggles to vaccinate a large and anxious population, Mr. Cuomo has all but declared war on his own public health bureaucracy.”
One former health official said Cuomo’s callous dismissiveness had caused staff morale to plunge in the middle of the pandemic. “Morale certainly was, and continues to be, at an all-time low,” the official said.
Last Friday, Cuomo openly admitted that he doesn’t trust the coronavirus “experts” in all levels of government.
“When I say ‘experts’ in air quotes, it sounds like I’m saying I don’t really trust the ‘experts,'” he said at a news conference. “Because I don’t.”
Dr. Isaac Weisfuse, a former deputy commissioner of New York City’s Health Department, said Cuomo’s combative personality could offend “experts” whose advice he’s supposed to consider.
“The governor’s approach in the beginning seemed to go against the grain in terms of what the philosophy was about how to do this,” Weisfuse told The Times. “It did seem to negate 15 to 20 years of work.”
In response, Cuomo comically confirmed that he’s obnoxious by haughtily dismissing any criticism.
“If Times reporters think I push hospitals too hard and local governments too hard, I say I’m a fighter for the people of New York and I believe I’m saving lives,” he said.
Cuomo then suggested that he was forced to take charge because his health officials appeared overwhelmed and ill-equipped to effectively manage the coronavirus crisis.
“It’s the Mike Tyson line: ‘Everybody has a plan until I punch them in the face,'” he said.
While it’s perfectly normal for politicians to disagree with their advisers, it bears noting that the mainstream media lionized Cuomo while breathlessly attacking former President Donald Trump whenever he disagreed with his adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Now that the presidential election is over and there’s no immediate need for Democrats and their media minions to maintain a unified façade, Cuomo staffers and The New York Times are finally coming clean about the internal turmoil within his administration.
While this chaos and animosity were boiling over behind the scenes, Fauci went on national television in July to praise New York’s epically incompetent coronavirus response, calling it the model for how states should respond.
“We know that when you do it properly, you bring down those cases,” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told PBS in July. “We’ve done it in New York. New York got hit worse than any place in the world. And they did it correctly.”
— Cuomo Watch (@CuomoWatch) May 9, 2020
Meanwhile, the state’s Democratic attorney general, Letitia James, begs to differ.
Last week, James issued a scathing report where she accused the Cuomo administration of undercounting COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes by as much as 50 percent as part of an apparent coverup.
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