Texas Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw slammed New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday for taking a victory lap for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and took issue with the fact that thousands of New Yorkers died in nursing homes.
Crenshaw told “Fox News @Night” on Wednesday that Cuomo “took affirmative action that actually harmed New Yorkers.”
“What was that?” Crenshaw asked. “You put patients who were infected back in nursing homes, you cannot forget this, he actually took action that hurt people and it’s responsible for the huge amount of deaths there.”
The poster depicts a mountain with essential workers pulling a rope symbolizing the "flattening of the curve."
Crenshaw said Cuomo’s actions “resulted in this curve which was the exact curve that we were supposed to avoid and then he goes and makes this artistic poster about it and tries to pretend like it’s a good thing.”
“It’s really unbelievable and I think it really offends a lot of New Yorkers as it should,” he continued.
Speaking last month with MSNBC, Cuomo defended his administration’s now-scrapped nursing home policy that critics say contributed to thousands of coronavirus deaths.
When asked if he takes responsibility for the order and “the role it may have played in those deaths,” Cuomo said, “the Republicans definitely are playing politics.”
“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,” he continued.
Cuomo has received scathing criticism for his early order requiring that nursing homes accept COVID-19 patients who had been released from hospitals, effectively placing them in the same facilities housing the demographic most vulnerable to the virus.
Cuomo has insisted that New York’s original nursing home policy was in line with a March 13 directive from the Trump administration’s Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that went out to all states on how to control nursing homes.
The guidelines say a nursing home "can accept a resident diagnosed with COVID-19 ... as long as the facility can follow CDC guidance" — and require any newly admitted resident with a COVID-19 case to be placed in a designated COVID-19 care unit. The guidance also says "nursing homes should admit any individuals that they would normally admit to their facility, including individuals from hospitals where a case of COVID-19 was/is present."
New York, among other states, said at the time that nursing homes cannot refuse to take patients from hospitals solely because they have the coronavirus. After mounting criticism that the policy put the most vulnerable people at risk and contributed to a high number of fatalities, New York reversed course May 10. Now hospitals can only send patients who have tested negative for COVID-19 to nursing homes.
Host Shannon Bream pointed out on Wednesday that the situation in New York “was dire” and “frightening” and that it seems that New York is “past it,” but asked, “What do you make of this idea that the governor is sort of getting a pat on the back from a lot of the media and from himself, it appears?”
“I’m always amazed by their ability to spin false narratives,” Crenshaw said in response.
“If you are going to be intellectually honest about criticizing our leaders, you have to be able to look back in time and say you took action, it was clear that you should’ve gone left and instead you went right.”
“A lot of people like to criticize Republican governors for reopening too early, what that really means is you’re saying they were wrong to give people too much freedom,” he continued. “If that sounds ridiculous, it is of course, but Governor Cuomo did something much worse than that, he took affirmative action that actually harmed New Yorkers.”
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In a statement sent to Fox News, Rich Azzopardi, senior adviser to Gov. Cuomo, said, "Another day, another Republican hack trying to distract from the many, many failures of the Trump administration during this pandemic and their lack of action that made us the only nation on earth to not deploy a national Covid-19 strategy.”
“Experts now say the virus was in New York in February, if not earlier, and a DOH [Department of Health] study, which was reviewed by experts at Northwell Health and Mount Sinai, showed definitively that the spike in facility deaths was early, likely caused by asymptomatic staffers through no fault of their own and predated the March 25th directive,” Azzopardi continued.
“No one is buying this GOP political smokescreen and they should knock it off and wear a mask."
Fox News’ Brooke Singman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.