New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) called a reporter’s question “stupid” after he was asked if he profited from the coronavirus deaths in the state with his book deal.
The story: During a Thursday press conference in Buffalo, a reporter asked the governor to respond to “allegations out there that you made money on the backs of dead people,” per a report from Spectrum 1 News.
“That’s stupid,” Cuomo told the reporter. “Next question.”
The reporter later asked the governor to clarify his response to the earlier question, highlighting that the criticism is aimed at his book about the coronavirus pandemic and comes from New Yorkers who lost loved ones because of the virus.
Cuomo told the reporter that he wasn’t calling his critics “stupid.”
“I thought your question was stupid and offensive,” the governor told the reporter.
He later said: “I wrote a book saying this is what we should learn from what has happened so far in COVID because we’re not done and it’s going to continue. And if we don’t learn the lessons we are going to continue to make the same mistakes. That’s why I wrote the book. And by the way, that’s what happened.”
“This country made tremendous mistakes when it came to COVID. We politicized a public health emergency,” Cuomo added.
How much? The question came after Cuomo’s tax returns revealed that his book about the pandemic, titled: “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic,” will earn him a total of $5.1 million. The book deal had already drawn backlash from both sides of the aisle, given the governor’s handling of the pandemic in the state and his controversial nursing home policy.
How we got here: Cuomo came under scrutiny for introducing a policy that prohibited nursing homes from turning away patients who tested positive for the coronavirus. He argued at the time that it was an effort to ensure hospital capacity in case of a surprising jump in coronavirus patients.
The high number of nursing home deaths, however, forced the governor to rescind the measure. The Department of Health initially blamed asymptomatic staff and visitors for the spread in these facilities.
Eventually, it was revealed that the Cuomo administration withheld nursing home data. Melissa DeRosa, a top aide to Cuomo, claimed they were worried that the issue would be politicized by the Department of Justice under the Trump administration.
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