Flashback: Cuomo Called COVID 'Great Equalizer' While Quietly Giving Preferential Treatment to Family, Allies

Posted: Mar 25, 2021 12:45 PM

In case you missed it earlier, the Albany Times Union broke the story that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's family members and political allies were given special treatment during the early days of COVID, including access to scarce tests, which many members of the general public were unable to obtain at the time. The governor's team insists there's nothing to see here, naturally, but at this point they have precisely zero credibility:

High-level members of the state Department of Health were directed last year by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker to conduct prioritized coronavirus testing on the governor's relatives as well as influential people with ties to the administration, according to three people with direct knowledge of the matter. Members of Cuomo's family including his brother, his mother and at least one of his sisters were also tested by top health department officials — some several times, the sources said...The medical officials enlisted to do the testing, which often took place at private residences, included Dr. Eleanor Adams, an epidemiologist who graduated from Harvard Medical School and in August became a special adviser to Zucker. Adams conducted testing on Cuomo's brother Chris at his residence on Long Island, according to the two people.

"If their job was to go test an old lady down in New Rochelle, that’s one thing — that’s actually good," one of the people with knowledge of the matter said. "This was not that."...Officials in the Cuomo administration said the testing in those early days of the pandemic in March 2020 was not preferential...Still, one of the people familiar with the matter said that the people with close ties to the governor, including his relatives, would have their samples moved to the front of the line at Wadsworth and be given priority. They were referred to as "critical samples." Another person familiar with the matter said the "sampling missions" had unsettled some of the high-level health department officials tasked with collecting the samples at private residences ... "To be doing sort of direct clinical work was a complete time-suck away from their other duties," the person said. "It was like wartime." The testing of Chris Cuomo took place in the early stages of the pandemic, at a time when many members of the public struggled to obtain coronavirus tests.

Jim Geraghty reminds us of something Cuomo said during one of his Emmy Award-winning press conferences nearly one year ago:

“We still see people coming out who don’t need to be out. Even for essential workers, people have to be careful. And again, I’ve been trying to communicate that. Everyone, everyone is subject to this virus. It is the great equalizer. I don’t care how smart, how rich, how powerful you think you are. I don’t care how young, how old. This virus is the great equalizer.

He tweeted that same phrase at the time.  But as usual, some people are more 'equal' than others. I'm frankly entirely unsurprised that Cuomo would prioritize family, friends and allies over the little people, and this member of the New York Assembly floats a fair, related question:

If they played favorites with testing, one can't help but wonder how they've handled vaccines. As a backdrop, New York is significantly lagging behind most other states on the crucial task of vaccinating senior citizens, the most likely group to suffer bad health outcomes or death from Coronavirus:

Phil Klein argues the Cuomo testing imbroglio is a media scandal, too: "This is now not only a political scandal, but a media scandal. We already know how Chris Cuomo breached journalistic ethics in covering his brother, including by conducting this highly embarrassing interview which included the prop of a giant nasal swab. Now it turns out that Andrew was using his power to give special VIP testing to Chris."  Don't forget that CNN's Chris Cuomo also violated his quarantine while actively infected and symptomatic with COVID, getting into an altercation with a member of the public while he was out and about.  He's lied about this, perhaps to maintain the "integrity" of a staged, phony, made-for-TV "re-emergence" from his basement.  Did the suits at CNN know about any of the apparent special treatment he received from his brother, the governor, whom he routinely "interviewed" in primetime?  It would seem so:

I'll leave you with a grim Cuomo milestone we marked yesterday, which would lead to many deaths and a full-blown cover-up -- as well as another example of potential meddling from a powerful Democrat on behalf of a family member:

On Oct. 23, 2018, President Joe Biden’s son Hunter and daughter in law Hallie were involved in a bizarre incident in which Hallie took Hunter’s gun and threw it in a trash can behind a grocery store, only to return later to find it gone. Delaware police began investigating, concerned that the trash can was across from a high school and that the missing gun could be used in a crime, according to law enforcement officials and a copy of the police report obtained by POLITICO...But a curious thing happened at the time: Secret Service agents approached the owner of the store where Hunter bought the gun and asked to take the paperwork involving the sale, according to two people, one of whom has firsthand knowledge of the episode and the other was briefed by a Secret Service agent after the fact. The gun store owner refused to supply the paperwork, suspecting that the Secret Service officers wanted to hide Hunter’s ownership of the missing gun in case it were to be involved in a crime...

Gosh, who might have gotten the Secret Service involved to help clean this up?  Are we going to groundlessly call this "Russian disinformation," too, media?  And what juxtaposition this story is with the president's revived interest in "gun safety," no?