Governor Andrew Cuomo is reported to be on Joe Biden’s shortlist for attorney general of the United States, though Cuomo claims he’s not interested. A savvy response, considering he might not be Biden’s final choice, and if he is, he’ll have to undergo Senate scrutiny. He’s got a lot to explain.
Not because of an unsubstantiated accusation of sexual misconduct hurled against Cuomo on Sunday. The real issue is Cuomo’s track record of proven public policy blunders that cost New Yorkers their lives.
Cuomo’s constituents are bearing the brunt of his left-wing criminal justice policies that put repeat offenders back on the streets hours after their arrest with no bail required. That includes looters — but also shooters. New Yorkers are being terrorized by a huge increase in gun violence, mostly by repeat offenders who would be behind bars if Cuomo hadn’t kowtowed to the extreme left on bail “reform.” The toll: 1,756 dead or wounded so far this year in New York City, according to the NYPD.
Biden should also look at Cuomo’s hand-picked parole board, which released cop killer Perry Bellamy and convicted killer Samuel Ayala, guilty of raping and murdering two mothers in front of their kids.
Since the tragic death of George Floyd, Cuomo has earned been panderer-in chief, accusing all cops in the state of racial bias, and threatening funding cuts to any local police department that didn’t reform, as if they’re all equally in need of reform. That bullying rhetoric won praise from Al Sharpton, but it’s not the even-handed approach to policing America deserves.
A U.S. Attorney General is also responsible for ensuring the Justice Department roots out corruption. But Cuomo wallows in it. Cuomo ran for governor in 2010, promising to clean up Albany’s culture of corruption. Then he shut down the Moreland commission created for that very purpose.
Cuomo himself has never been accused of a crime, but several of his closest aides have been convicted and sentenced to prison, notably Joseph Percoco. He was Cuomo’s longtime confidante who ran two of the governor’s campaigns and was described by Cuomo as his father’s “third son.” Percoco was convicted of soliciting bribes — he called the money “ziti” — and demanding a low-show job for his wife from companies doing business with the state.
And without tagging Cuomo’s fundraising as illegal — it’s not under the state’s lax laws — he’s been largely supported by donors doing business with the state. Hardly a model to be emulated nationwide.
This year, it cost thousands of seniors their lives. The carnage started in March when hospitals inundated with COVID-19 patients insisted on clearing out elderly patients even if they were still infected and sending them to whatever nursing homes had empty beds. To swing that, they had to get rid of a safety regulation requiring that patients test negative twice for COVID-19 before being placed in a home. Cuomo’s state Health Department willingly complied.
On March 25, the Cuomo administration mandated that nursing homes accept COVID-19 patients being discharged from hospitals and barred any testing. Facilities had to fly blind, not knowing who was infected. The infection spread like fire, killing thousands.
Yet, the Cuomo administration stuck with its deadly policy until May 10, way too long. Why? Because it wasn’t a mistake. It was a sellout.
The hospital industry’s lobbying organization, the Greater New York Hospital Association, is a megadonor to the state Democratic Party’s housekeeping account, which helps elect Cuomo. GYNHA’s head, Ken Raske, is usually seated at the governor’s table at events. When GNYHA was called on for campaign cash in 2018, it came through with over $1 million. No wonder Cuomo’s Health Department does the hospital industry’s bidding.
To cover up the nursing home deaths, the Cuomo administration began fudging numbers, reporting only patients who died in a home and excluding those who expired after being sent to a hospital. That reduced the toll by half.
The Justice Department wasn’t fooled. Since August, it’s been pressing for the truth.
Yet, Biden’s praising Cuomo for doing a “heck of a job” against the virus. Don’t be fooled by the Emmy, Joe.
Cuomo is anti-cop, comfortable with corruption and willing to lie, even about death. He’s not what America needs in a top law enforcement officer.
Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York and author of “The Next Pandemic,” available at Amazon.com. Contact her at [email protected] or on Twitter @Betsy_McCaughey. To find out more about Betsy McCaughey and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.