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Cuomo sexual harassment scandal may be overshadowing NY's nursing home deaths, some critics worry

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s handling of nursing home deaths at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic may be getting overshadowed by his growing list of sexual harassment accusers, some critics of the Democrat say.

The harassment scandal — which grew to at least five accusers following two reports published Saturday night, amid denials of the allegations by both the governor and his spokespeople — was appearing to take on “all the trappings of a coordinated distraction” from the nursing home deaths, claimed Boris Ryvkin, a lawyer and former national security adviser to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

State officials now estimate that more than 15,000 residents of New York’s nursing homes and long-term-care facilities may have died of the coronavirus — a much larger number than the 6,400 estimate state officials previously reported, according to a story published Thursday night by The Wall Street Journal.

The Cuomo administration later claimed that some deaths were not included in its count because some of the information could not be “adequately verified,” adding that the discrepancy did not affect the administration’s contention that a March 25 state advisory regarding nursing home patients “was not a driver of nursing home deaths,” as some critics had suspected.

“A decision was made to use the data set that was reported by the place of death with firsthand knowledge of the circumstances, which gave a higher degree of comfort in its accuracy,” Beth Garvey, special counsel to Cuomo, explained. 

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Nevertheless, critics of Cuomo’s handling of the state’s nursing homes weren’t ready to let the governor off the hook.

Progressive columnist David Sirota of The Guardian asserted that waiting until “harassment is investigated” would ignore what he called Cuomo’s “other big scandal.”

“Cuomo should face impeachment & calls to resign because 15,000 people died in nursing homes while he helped his donor shield nursing home execs from legal consequences & withheld casualty data,” Sirota tweeted Wednesday.

Some critics claimed the nursng home scandal wasn’t receiving the proper level of attention compared to the sexual harassment scandal.

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“When I picked my Cuomo Bingo Card, I didn’t see ‘Taken down by a sex scandal’ outperforming ‘Killed thousands of elderly Americans in nursing homes,’ U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., tweeted last week after three accusers had accused Cuomo of unwanted advances.

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Conservative activist Brigitte Gabriel agreed it should not have taken the harassment allegations for Cuomo to be seen as unfit to govern.

“The Democrats are going to kick Cuomo out of office for sexual harassment, not the avoidable death of 15,000 senior citizens,” she tweeted Saturday.

Libertarian journalist Robby Soave agreed Cuomo should resign over the nursing home deaths, not the harassment allegations.

“Getting hundreds or thousands of people killed and then trying to cover it up is significantly worse than sexual harassment,” he tweeted Tuesday.

Fox News’ Morgan Phillips contributed to this report.

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