Trump attacks Cuomo over nursing homes, COVID-19

President Trump on Thursday criticized New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) for his record on handling the coronavirus, calling the governor incompetent and blaming him for thousands of deaths in nursing homes in the state.

“Governors [sic] Andrew Cuomo of New York has the worst record on death and China Virus,” Trump tweeted Thursday morning. “11,000 people alone died in Nursing Homes because of his incompetence!”

Trump later recommended that Cuomo ask state prosecutors — who he claimed have been “illegally after me and my family for years” — to investigate the governor’s handling of the coronavirus.

Rich Azzopardi, a senior adviser to Cuomo, responded by accusing Trump of peddling “lies and conspiracies.”

“You literally [recommended] that people inject bleach in their veins to fight COVID … and some actually did,” Azzopardi tweeted.

Trump lashed out at Cuomo after the New York governor accused the president of trying to “punish” New York City and allowing COVID-19 to “ambush” the state. Cuomo criticized Trump in a tweet for his recent move to strip funding to states and localities Trump labeled “anarchist jurisdictions,” including New York City, accusing the president of an “illegal stunt.”

On a conference call Wednesday, Cuomo also sharply rebuked Trump for the memo ordering the funding review, saying the president “better have an army if he thinks he’s going to walk down the street in New York.”

New York’s official nursing home death toll is over 6,600, though The Associated Press reported last month that the number could be undercounted because New York only counts residents who died on nursing home property to determine the death toll. Data from the Kaiser Family Foundation suggests that New York could have a nursing home death toll of over 11,000, according to the AP, which is apparently the source of the figure in the president’s tweet.

The Justice Department is currently considering an investigation into whether four Democratic-led states, including New York, violated the civil rights of nursing home residents by requiring nursing homes not turn away other residents for readmission after they had COVID-19. The Trump administration has come under fire as a result, with critics seeing the probe as politically motivated.

New York has been among the cities that Trump has criticized for what he describes as “lawlessness” as protests against racial injustice gripped localities across the country beginning in May.

The White House late Wednesday issued a memorandum directing the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to review federal funding flowing to New York, Seattle, Portland, Ore., and Washington, D.C., and to issue guidance to agencies to limit funding to “anarchist jurisdictions in the receipt of Federal grants that the agency has sufficient lawful discretion to restrict or otherwise disfavor anarchist jurisdictions from receiving.”

Trump, who is from New York but changed his residency to Florida last year, has repeatedly traded barbs with Cuomo throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Cuomo has criticized the federal government for incompetence in its response to the coronavirus and accused Trump of putting politics over public health. 

–Updated at 10:27 a.m.

Tags Andrew Cuomo Coronavirus COVID-19 Donald Trump New York nursing homes
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