NBC's Willie Geist Confronts Gov. Cuomo About Writing a Book in the Middle of a Pandemic

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Posted: Oct 13, 2020 8:45 AM
NBC's Willie Geist Confronts Gov. Cuomo About Writing a Book in the Middle of a Pandemic

Source: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's new book, "American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic," is out on Tuesday. And we couldn't help but notice how premature that release date is. After all, the country is still in the middle of the pandemic, and outbreaks appear to be on the rise again in New York. So why write a book suggesting that he beat it?

"Can you see why a lot people think if you say we're in the halftime of this, that writing a book, a retrospective in the middle of it sort of celebrating the things that you did right, feels off and strange given what might be ahead?," NBC's Willie Geist asked the governor on Monday morning.

"No, Willie, it's not a celebration at all," Cuomo said. "The game isn't over. It is halftime. We didn't lose. it's only halftime and we had some success but we also are making a lot of mistakes and if we go into the locker room as a nation and we talk about the first half we better learn. Because if we don't learn the lessons the second half is going to be worse."

Then Geist pressed Cuomo about his dangerous March mandate that forced nursing home facilities to accept recovering coronavirus patients. 

"Was it a mistake to send those COVID positive patients back into nursing homes?" Geist pressed.

Instead of answering the question about his own shortcomings as a leader, Cuomo again deflected to lecture the Trump administration.

"Here's the first lesson for this lesson, Willie," he said. "How did you not know the virus was coming to the United States? They call it the China virus. It wasn't the China virus. It was the European virus."

He argued that the reason the numbers of COVID cases in New York was so high because the virus moved for months undetected, and the president didn't have a plan.

Willie should have expected to get a non-answer from the governor. Anytime Cuomo has been challenged to confront his own failed leadership, he's punted accountability to the White House, to reporters, and even to nursing home staff.

New Yorkers who have lost loved ones in nursing homes want to see the real number of COVID-related nursing homes deaths in the wake of Cuomo's mandate. The number that the Cuomo administration provided did not take into account seniors who died after being transferred to the hospital.

Janice Dean, a Fox News senior meteorologist who found herself reluctantly in the middle of New York politics this year after both of her in-laws died from COVID in New York nursing homes, suggested there may be at least one silver lining in Cuomo's outrageous book tour.