New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is scheduled to join the National Governors Association’s winter meeting Thursday afternoon, with President Biden expected to participate as well.
Cuomo, who is the chair of the NGA, will be addressing coronavirus-related issues during the virtual event, while he continues to deal with scandals related to his own pandemic policies, as well as alleged behavior.
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“He will be presiding over today’s proceedings,” NGA press secretary James Nash confirmed to Fox News.
Last year, Biden had called Cuomo the “gold standard” when it came to state leaders handling the pandemic. When asked about this on Sunday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki would not say whether the president still feels this way in light of Cuomo’s nursing home scandal. His administration had withheld the number of nursing home residents who died from COVID-19 after he had directed facilities to accept residents who had tested positive.
The governor has insisted that this directive — which was issued in March 2020 and rescinded in May — did not contribute to the thousands of deaths that occurred at the height of the pandemic.
Cuomo continues to face backlash over the directive, as well as allegations that he and his administration intentionally hid the number of nursing home deaths to avoid consequences from the Justice Department. He had initially only released the number of people who died of COVID-19 while inside nursing homes, not counting those who died after being taken to a hospital.
Former secretary to the governor Steven Cohen defended Cuomo’s nursing home directive in a statement issued Thursday morning, claiming that it was “appropriate” and based on guidance from the CDC.
“What has been lost in the discussion is that the March 25 advisory followed federal CDC guidance,” Cohen said. “Indeed, the CDC guidance on which the March 25 advisory is based is still in place. It has not been rescinded or superseded. Throughout last year, and into the Biden administration, the CDC has not changed the guidance. At a minimum, this suggests the CDC continues to support this guidance and believe that it was — and still is — appropriate. Given CDC’s position, it follows that the March 25 advisory was also appropriate.”
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The governor also is in the middle of dealing with sexual harassment allegations, after former aide and congressional candidate Lindsey Boylan accused him of making inappropriate comments and kissing her on the lips.
Nash said that Thursday’s meeting will focus on vaccine distribution efforts and economic recovery as the American workforce looks towards a post-pandemic world. The governors and the president are expected to discuss how the federal government and the states can work together to advance American recovery.
School reopening has been another issue of interest, while it is not necessarily on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting, Nash said he would not be surprised if it came up.
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The Biden administration faced criticism after Psaki said that the president wants most American schools open at least one day a week by the end of Biden’s first 100 days in office.
Biden then said that this was “a mistake in the communication.” He also said that schools may be open during the summer to make up for lost time, and could be open five days a week, contradicting Psaki, who had previously said that “[s]chools won’t be in session for the summer.”
Fox News’ Tyler Olson contributed to this report.