Not Satire: Columnist Excuses Cuomo's Alleged Harassment Because He Was 'Perfect' on COVID


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo hid the number of nursing home deaths in his state during the first months of the COVID pandemic.

The Democrat refused to share the data on those deaths with state legislators and had his own aides — none of them public health experts — rewrite a Department of Health report delivered last June that had an accurate accounting of the nursing home deaths, The New York Times reported.

The report absolved him of any blame for his order to send COVID-positive patients back into nursing homes from hospitals if they were stable, insisting it was health care workers who brought the disease into nursing homes.

His daily news briefings last year, in which he would dial up his New Yorker attitude to 11 and filibuster cable news airtime for at least 90 minutes a day, were touted as must-see TV and a powerful corrective to President Donald Trump’s messaging. They were liberally peppered with lies. He got an Emmy nonetheless.

As Andrew McCarthy pointed out in a piece in National Review, Cuomo’s government continued undercounting the death toll in New York’s nursing homes long beyond the original report.

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Even though this fact was available to anyone who bothered looking, it wasn’t until New York Attorney General Letitia James issued a damning report in January, in which it was reported the state had undercounted COVID deaths in nursing homes by at least 50 percent, that the issue started getting attention.

That COVID-era performance was so laudable, however, that a columnist for the New York Daily News thinks it’s enough that we should overlook the numerous charges of sexual misconduct the Democrat governor now faces. Seriously.

Either Linda Stasi really needs the Twitter hate-mentions or doesn’t read any newspaper, including her own, because not only was the whole “perfect man for our perilous pandemic times” thing a put-on, but Cuomo has now been accused of sexual misconduct by five women as of Wednesday morning. Don’t expect that number to remain static, either.

Yet, according to Stasi, those accusations represent a “hugging-kissing scandal” that shouldn’t distract us from the warm embrace Cuomo gave all of us when we needed it most: Last spring, when he was lying profusely about how effectively his state was dealing with the coronavirus.

Back then, she wrote in the Monday piece, “New Yorkers were dying and suffering all around us like some dystopian play about the end of the world. We were confused, we were panicked, we were out of toilet paper.

“The morgues were so full of the dead that hospitals had frozen food trucks parked in back to hold the overflow of corpses. We started with a 31% positivity rate for those tested, and six months later in October it was down to under 1%. Yes, the COVID positivity rate fluctuated due to holiday travel and gatherings, which Cuomo had warned us against, but on March 5 it was back down to 2.80% — the lowest since Nov. 21.”

And then came this next paragraph, which an editor (assumedly) read and, for some reason, allowed to be published in one of Gotham’s four major newspapers:

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“Have people forgotten how the whole country tuned in every day to watch Cuomo’s honest pandemic updates — and how he gave us the only hope we had that somehow we’d get past it?” Stasi wrote.

They haven’t forgotten. Instead, they’ve remembered because they now know he was doing the opposite of giving “honest pandemic updates” — he was lying through his teeth, in fact, and not just about dead nursing home patients.

Example: In March 2020, as it became clear this wasn’t just the viral version of a test of the emergency broadcast system, Americans began hoarding every product we thought would keep us safe from the disease. (Including, for reasons I’ll still never fully understand, toilet paper.)

One of these was hand sanitizer, and Cuomo loudly declared he was sick of being price-gouged on a key PPE product. So, he said, he repurposed the New York state prison labor system to produce hand sanitizer, “creating” a product dubbed “NYS Clean.”

At one of his news conferences, Cuomo made a big deal of unveiling the hand sanitizer, pulling back a curtain where jugs of the stuff had been neatly arranged. He even took a sniff: “I detect lilac, hydrangea, tulips,” the governor said of the bouquet.

“We are problem solvers, state of New York, Empire State, progressive capital of the nation,” Cuomo said.

It took less than two weeks for Vice to report this: “According to workers at Great Meadow Correctional Facility in Comstock, New York where the hand sanitizer is being ‘made,’ as well as a spokesperson for the prison system, they are doing nothing more than taking existing hand sanitizer and rebottling it into packaging labeled NYS Clean.”

The report quoted an official as saying “the hand sanitizer itself is being produced by an outside vendor he would not name; the Great Meadow Facility is only bottling and labeling it.”

“Neither [the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision] nor the governor’s office would respond to repeated questions about why the state would need to use prison labor to bottle hand sanitizer, nor did the governor’s office respond to questions about Cuomo’s pitch that this was a cheaper, more effective option than buying bottled hand sanitizer outright,” Vice reported.

Has Stasi forgotten? Or did she just not care?

As for what Cuomo was allegedly doing during his down time — and how New York Democrats want him out because, at the very least, dealing with the sexual misconduct allegations against him is distracting him from his job — here was Stasi’s take: “What happened to waiting to condemn until all investigations have been done?”

“Distractions? This is a guy who has steered us through the worst of times by keeping laser-focused on the task at hand. The pandemic is a distraction, as are the deaths of nearly 48,000 New Yorkers; the loss of billions in revenue; businesses, schools, cultural and arts venues closing, and the accompanying loss of tourism,” she wrote.

“Ironically, calling for his resignation because he’s supposedly distracted is in itself a distraction.”

This would be funny if it weren’t so serious.

Cuomo, she said, “has shown us he can multi-task as he continues to deal with all of the overwhelming horrors that have beset us as a state. Yes, he’s been a bully. But damn — it took a bully to deal with a bully. Remember, he was one of the few governors who managed to stand up to the biggest bully in the country, former President Donald Trump when he was threatening to withhold emergency aid to what he deemed poorly run states — with Democratic governors.”

And then Stasi said that “15-year-old allegations that weren’t either reported then, or were in fact dealt with correctly back then, should not be causing this uproar now that the news has shifted away from the pandemic and we begin to emerge from the darkness of quarantine.”

At least she’s consistent:

But don’t say she is engaging in victim-blaming or minimizing this. Instead, she’s just minimizing it. Let’s make that distinction clear.

“I’m not saying that these allegations aren’t real, and that the governor never figured out that in this day, that a boss just can’t go around hugging and kissing people — no matter how Italian he is. I’m a hugging and kissing Italian-American myself,” Stasi wrote. “Meantime, and almost ridiculously, the pols calling for his head have themselves become distracted by the hugging-kissing scandal.

“Right now what we don’t need is herd mentality — we need herd immunity.”

Hey, look on the bright side, Linda Stasi — if it’ll get these “hugging-kissing” stories out of the news, maybe he’ll lie about achieving herd immunity, too.

It’ll be just as real as the nursing home numbers and that “prisoner-produced” hand sanitizer, mind you, but given how readily you seem to cling to Andrew Cuomo’s mendacities as if they were Linus’ blanket, what’s one more huge fib to keep you feeling warm and fuzzy inside?

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture