President Donald Trump hit back hard against Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s harsh attack against him this week, saying Thursday that the reason so many New Yorkers died of COVID-19 in rest homes was due to the New York governor’s incompetence. Cuomo authorized patients infected with the illness to hospice among the most vulnerable in those homes.
The situation escalated after Cuomo responded to Trump’s threat Wednesday to remove federal funds from what he says are ‘anarchist’ municipalities like New York City, that have made it impossible for citizens to travel freely and feel safe. The threat to remove funds is in response to growing unrest and violence in those states in response to officer related shootings in the country.
On Thursday Trump responded to Cuomo saying on Twitter: “Governors Andrew Cuomo of New York has the worst record on death and the China Virus. 11,000 people died in nursing homes because of his incompetence!”
Fox News senior meteorologist Janice Dean testified last month in New York City regarding the tragic death of her in-laws in a nursing home from COVID-19. She told “Fox & Friends” that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is not providing the exact numbers of those who died from COVID-19 in adult care facilities because “New York state does not count the numbers that we lost in hospitals from nursing homes.”
Further she stated that “we need those numbers to move forward and help change the laws. We need an independent bipartisan investigation that involves subpoena power so we can get the health commissioner on the hot seat and ask questions and get truthful answers.”
On Wednesday Cuomo, who once lauded Trump’s assistance and response to the COVID-19 outbreak in his city, fought back against the president’s threat to remove city funding from State’s that are not responding to rioters or keeping law and order. Cuomo said the president is ‘persona non grata’ in his home state…he can’t have enough bodyguards to walk through New York City,” said Cuomo said.
“Forget bodyguards, he better have an army if he thinks he’s going to walk down the streets in New York,” he said. “He is persona non grata in New York City, and I think he knows that, and he’ll never come back to New York, because New Yorkers will never forget how gratuitously mean he has been.”
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Cuomo says he’ll ‘fully cooperate’ with NY AG’s review of sexual harassment claims
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Wednesday that he will “fully cooperate” with the state attorney general’s independent review into sexual harassment allegations made against the currently scandal-ridden governor, saying, “I fully support a woman’s right to come forward.”
Last Wednesday, Lindsey Boylan, who served in his administration for over three years, accused Cuomo of suggesting to her on a 2017 flight that they play strip poker, inappropriate touching, and kissing her on the lips without her consent.
Following Boylan’s accusations, 25-year-old Charlotte Bennett alleged the governor indicated interest in having an affair with her while she was serving in his administration as a health policy adviser. In a Saturday New York Times report, Bennett told the newspaper that Cuomo asked her if she had “ever been with an older man,” adding that “age doesn’t matter” in relationships.
At Wednesday’s press briefing, the Empire State governor addressed the accusations leveled against him over the past seven days by three women and New York Attorney General Letitia James’ (D) independent review into those claims, which she announced on Monday was formally proceeding.
“As you probably know, the attorney general is doing an independent review, and I will fully cooperate with that review,” Cuomo said at the beginning of his statement. “Now, the lawyers say I shouldn’t say anything when you have a pending review until that review is over. I understand that, I’m a lawyer, too. But, I want New Yorkers to hear from me directly on this.”
“First, I fully support a woman’s right to come forward,” the governor began. “And I think it should be encouraged in every way. I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it. I feel awful about it, and frankly I am embarrassed by it, and that’s not easy to say. But that’s the truth.”
This echoes what Cuomo said in a Sunday statement about the allegations, in which he stated he “may have been insensitive” during his tenure but charged his accusers of misinterpreting his actions, saying, “I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation… I am truly sorry about that.”
During his Wednesday remarks, Cuomo iterated “I never touched anyone inappropriately,” repeated that sentence, then said “I never knew at the time that I was making anyone feel uncomfortable” and repeated that one too.
“And I certainly never, ever meant to offend anyone or hurt anyone or cause anyone any pain. That is the last thing I would ever want to do,” he continued. “I ask the people of this state to wait for the facts from the attorney general’s report before forming an opinion. Get the facts, please, before forming an opinion.”
“I also want you to know that I have learned from what has been an incredibly difficult situation for me as well as other people, and I’ve learned an important lesson,” the governor said at the end of his statement. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry for whatever pain I caused anyone, I never intended it, and I will be the better for this experience.”
Amid Boylan and Bennett’s allegations, another report of Cuomo sexually harassing a woman has cropped up. On Monday, a woman named Anna Ruch accused the governor of placing his hands on her cheeks—without her consent—at a 2019 wedding reception and asking if he could kiss her. A photograph of the two together at the event has also been circulating on social media.
Asked at Wednesday’s briefing about the pictures that have resurfaced of him being touchy with people, particularly that of him and Ruch, the governor claimed that it is his way of greeting people.
“I understand the opinion of—and feelings of—Ms. Ruch,” Cuomo said. “You can find hundreds of pictures of me making the same gesture with hundreds of people—women, children, men, etc. You can go find hundreds of pictures of me kissing people. […] It is my usual and customary way of greeting.”
Moreover, the governor said that his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, would do the same thing.
“By the way, it was my father’s way of greeting people,” Cuomo said, explaining, “You’re the governor of the state, you want people to feel comfortable, you want to reach out to them.”
He also mentioned that he kisses and hugs legislators and noted that at an event in Queens the other day he hugged pastors and state assembly members.
Furthermore, the governor said that his intent “doesn’t matter,” saying, “What it matters is if anybody was offended by it.”
“But if they were offended by it, then it was wrong,” he added, going on to say that if they were offended or hurt by it, he apologizes.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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