Four Democrat governors may find themselves in hot water with the U.S. Department of Justice over their negligent handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the disastrous consequences for some of their states’ most vulnerable citizens.
The DOJ announced last week that it was requesting data from the administrations of Democratic Governors Andrew Cuomo, Phil Murphy, Gretchen Whitmer, and Tom Wolf regarding policies and actions “which may have resulted in the deaths of thousands of elderly nursing home residents,” signaling a potential probe.
The not-so-fab foursome bucked CDC guidelines on nursing homes, which cautioned freely readmitting COVID-19 patients into long-term care facilities, and did the exact opposite. The governors required senior care facilities to readmit patients into their vulnerable populations, even through executive order. Governor Cuomo was even caught blatantly lying by PolitiFact for claiming that his nursing home policy was in compliance with CDC guidelines.
While these four governors were putting their most vulnerable constituents at risk, they were simultaneously preaching that their favored COVID-19 restrictions were based upon science. Governor Whitmer was quick to ban the sale of paint in an effort to stop the spread, and Pennsylvania has the second most COVID-19 restrictions in the country, but Governor Wolf didn’t apply that same level of rigor to protect the health of nursing home residents.
Perhaps most disturbing is that even as reports of the preventable tragedies in senior care centers were emerging, these governors received fawning media coverage with accolades including “sex symbol,” the future of the Democratic Party. The Philadelphia Inquirer even went so far to call Cuomo, Murphy, and Wolf “the darling, the technocrat, and the PH.d,” when referring to them as “Larry, Moe, and Curly” would have been more appropriate based on their results.
In New York, Governor Cuomo has obscured data and information about his decision to send sick patients back into nursing homes and brushes off criticism as “politically motivated.” In an attempt to hide the severity of the problem, Cuomo has repeatedly “stonewalled” requests for records, “cloak[ing] in secrecy” the truth about the gravity of his deeply flawed decisions. According to the Associated Press, public estimates that 6,000 New Yorkers in nursing homes have died as a result of the virus “could actually be a significant undercount,” and in reality the number could be 11,000.
Cuomo copycat Phil Murphy has demonstrated throughout this pandemic that his idea of “leadership” consists of just doing whatever Andrew Cuomo does, including following his lead on nursing homes to devastating effect. New Jersey has the highest number of deaths per 100,000 individuals in the country, with over 5,300 of them taking place in nursing homes, leading NJ Advance Media to conclude: “New Jersey failed to react fast enough or take forceful, aggressive actions to slow the rampage in nursing homes as the virus preyed on the state’s most vulnerable patients, according to more than a dozen public health experts, industry officials, family members and advocates.”
Governor Whitmer went even further by taking executive action to force COVID-19 patients into nursing homes. Whitmer took a break from hobnobbing with late night TV hosts to sign an executive order directing nursing homes to accept sick patients. When the legislature passed a bill attempting to right Whitmer’s egregious wrong, she doubled down and vetoed the legislation, which according to The Detroit News “would have shifted elderly people with COVID-19 away from nursing homes and into entirely separate facilities.” According to the latest data, over 2,100 people have died in nursing homes in Michigan due to COVID-19, nearly one-third of all deaths statewide.
Hypocrisy and incompetence was also on display in Tom Wolf’s response to COVID-19 in nursing homes. Over 5,100 Pennsylvanians who resided or worked in nursing homes across the state succumbed to COVID-19, with some facilities becoming “death traps” because the state failed to fully implement a plan crafted to respond to outbreaks at nursing homes. Wolf administration insiders fared better than ordinary Pennsylvanians – Wolf’s health secretary decided to relocate her own mother from a long-term care facility, an act of blatant hypocrisy that Wolf defended.
While the results of the DOJ’s factfinding remain to be seen, these Democratic governors have already failed their most vulnerable constituents when they needed them the most.