While Governor Andrew Cuomo has stopped his daily coronavirus press briefings, he’s still on television, being treated to softball interview after softball interview from his adoring fans in the media. After the “Luv Guv” and desirable “bachelor” was fawned over by ABC’s Amy Robach and CBS’s Jane Pauley, it was actually MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle on Monday who pressed him on his controversial nursing home executive order.
After asking for coronavirus updates in his state, the MSNBC Live host cut to the chase, offering criticism for how he has managed New York’s COVID crisis. She indirectly criticized Cuomo’s leadership by touting former CDC director Tom Frieden calling New York City’s response, “disastrous:”
He said over the weekend what a disastrous job New York City has done, specifically Mayor De Blasio, in moving contact tracing, giving that mandate to an agency with no expertise whatsoever. We know how important contact tracing is for this next phase. So what's your take on what New York City is doing?
Cuomo downplayed what Ruhle said, insisting the tracing “was a local decision” but insisted the state would step in if it became a problem. A few questions later Ruhle got around to Cuomo’s nursing home order. She directly asked him to take responsibility for shuffling COVID-positive patients into nursing homes, with catastrophic results:
Governor, House Republicans are looking into New York's March 25th order that directed nursing homes to take in infected patients. This thing is not going away, sir. 6,300 people died in New York nursing homes. That's the most in this country. The more time has passed, the more your office has been able to look into this. Do you take responsibility for that order and the role it may have played in those deaths?
But Cuomo just claimed this was a political game concocted by Republicans. However, there has been a bipartisan effort by New York’s state legislature to hold hearings on the nursing home issue as well. Ruhle at first didn't let him downplay the scandal which he tried to cover up:
CUOMO: Yeah, the Republicans, Stephanie, are playing politics. They don't want to talk about how --
RUHLE: Sir, these are lives. These are people's parents' lives.
CUOMO: Yes, I understand that. And there are facts also, Stephanie. So let's look at the facts, right, rather than the political rhetoric. Yes, we had more people die in nursing homes than anywhere else. Because we had more people die. Because the federal government missed the boat and never told us that this virus was coming from Europe and not from China. And January, February, March, before they did the European travel ban, 3 million people came from Europe and brought the virus to New York and the federal government didn't know and the federal government and the CDC and all of them failed to handle this pandemic and warn this nation. So New York had more cases, more deaths and more deaths in nursing homes because that's who the virus affects. It affects senior citizens. We know that. You look at any state and they had a tremendous number of deaths in nursing homes. It's all a political charade. And it's an ugly one, frankly, to talk about a number of deaths and suggests there was politics at it. The number of deaths are still going up, Stephanie. Look at Florida. Look at Texas. Look at Arizona. Let them look in the mirror and say, 'you know what? We were wrong. We're killing people unnecessarily by this irresponsible reckless reopening, and it's not working for the economy either.' Those are the facts, Stephanie. There's still facts and truth in life, even in this political mayhem that this nation is in.
Ruhle should get credit for at least asking him to take responsibility for this scandal, something many other networks have refused to when talking to Cuomo. At least she didn’t call his state “a success story” like CNN did, or claim this was “his moment” like CBS did. However, Ruhle didn’t push back on Cuomo deflecting blame, either and this was a 13-minute-interview.
Cuomo conveniently left out Democrat-run California has also had a spike in COVID cases, similar to Florida. Not to mention that the number of deaths has actually gone way down nationally. Florida’s fatality rate hasn’t changed dramatically since reopening even if infections have. But Ruhle let Cuomo deflect blame and attack Republicans, just like she did in May with her 9-minute-interview with the New York governor.