A Trump official pushed back at Gov. Andrew Cuomo for trying to shift blame to the White House for the state’s own policies that may have led to more than 5,000 coronavirus-related fatalities, saying, “The deaths are on his hands.”
“Leadership is about good and sound judgment. Governor Cuomo exercised misguided leadership. He’s responsible for this nursing home problem and the deaths are on his hands,” Michael Caputo, assistant secretary for public affairs at the US Department of Health and Human Services told The Post.
“It’s a betrayal of trust. Instead of being transparent, he’s shifting blame. If there’s a category for blame-shifting, Cuomo should get an Oscar,” Caputo said.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Administrator Seema Verma, whose office oversees nursing homes for HHS, said in a statement to the Post, “The Trump Administration was clear in its guidance on transferring coronavirus patients from hospitals to nursing homes. To protect America’s seniors and prevent the continued spread in nursing homes, it’s critical they are discharged to a location that can appropriately care for their needs.”
Cuomo tried to pin the blame on President Trump Wednesday, when he asked if he had any regrets for a much-criticized March 25 state Health Department directive barring nursing homes from turning away coronavirus-positive patients discharged from hospitals. The governor recently rescinded the policy but not before thousands of at-risk nursing home patients, most of them elderly had died from COVID-19.
He said critics should “ask President Trump” about it, arguing that the federal government actually cooked up the mandate — and that New York was just following Washington’s lead.
“Anyone who wants to ask, ‘Why did the state do that with COVID patients in nursing homes?’ it’s because the state followed President Trump’s CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidance,” Cuomo told reporters in Albany who pressed him on whether he had any regrets about the directive.
“They should ask President Trump. I think that will stop the conversation,” he repeated.
The novel coronavirus outbreak has been linked to more than 5,800 confirmed and presumed nursing home and adult care facility deaths in New York — more than in any other state.
Before his current post, Caputo, a veteran campaign and PR man, worked on Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and was also the campaign spokesman for Carl Paladino, Cuomo’s Republican rival in the 2010 gubernatorial campaign.
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