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Media served as protective cloak for Cuomo’s COVID lies

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Media served as protective cloak for Cuomo’s COVID lies

News that Gov. Cuomo’s office had radically understated the number of COVID-19 deaths in New York nursing homes last year deflated his media image as a straight-talking teller of home truths. Now The Post has reported that the governor covered up the extent of the problem specifically because his office didn’t want President Trump to “turn this into a giant political football” by instructing the Department of Justice to investigate Cuomo’s handling of the situation. 

In other words, Cuomo buried evidence and impeded a federal investigation, hoping a new ­administration would leave him alone.

Last March, Cuomo’s state health commissioner, Howard Zucker, signed a decree ordering nursing homes to admit or readmit COVID patients released from hospitals, even if they remained infectious. The decision was made amid fears that hospital emergency rooms and intensive-care units would be overrun by the desperately sick; moving stabilized patients into care facilities appeared to be the least bad option.

Cuomo can’t in good faith be faulted for initially making this call, though it allowed the virus to spread like fire throughout the state’s nursing homes, infecting and killing the elderly and immune-compromised in droves. But he can be held to account for not rescinding the statewide order until May 10, well after it was obvious that hospitals weren’t being swamped and that the policy was causing massive death in the nursing homes.

Cuomo ducked media demands for nursing-home mortality data throughout 2020, even as every other state made the information public. While New York admitted to about 7,000 nursing home deaths, informed estimates put the real count at around 12,000; the state refused to confirm the figures. 

Last month, state Attorney General Letitia James released a report acknowledging that the real death toll was close to 13,000. In reaction to this news, Cuomo snapped, “Who cares? 33 [percent], 28 [percent]. Died in a hospital. Died in a nursing home. They died.”

The episode revealed Cuomo’s massive egotism. He was elevated by a fawning national media into a preposterously salvific role last spring and summer. Throughout the pandemic, the governor gave daily televised briefings in which he hailed his own performance as a beacon of leadership. 

He delivered such apothegms as, “It’s going to be hard, there is no doubt. But at the same time, it is going to be OK.” He also made a point, continuously, of calling the novel coronavirus the “European virus,” presumably in counterpoint to Trump’s calling it the “China virus,” though it is widely recognized that the virus originated in China, even if some infected people may have caught it in Italy before bringing it to America.

The media swooned. His “competence is captivating,” gushed The New York Times. Reporter Carl Bernstein praised Cuomo’s “real leadership,” and actor and prominent Democrat Mark Ruffalo said that “New Yorkers are lucky to have a leader like Governor Cuomo in this crisis.” 

In April, Cuomo appeared on Ellen DeGeneres’ TV show to announce that he approved of the use of the word “Cuomosexual,” embraced by DeGeneres and her fellow talk-show hosts Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah, to describe people who love him.

Cuomo also appeared almost every night on his brother Chris Cuomo’s show on CNN. The pair frequently bantered about whose nose was bigger, who was more devoted to their mother in faithfully reproducing her recipe for sauce and how well the “Luv Guv,” in Chris’s words, had done serving the Empire State. 

In November, the governor won his own special Emmy for his TV appearances. Emmy boss Bruce Paisner hailed Cuomo for taking “it upon himself to use technology to spread reliable information and tell citizens what to do. Governor Cuomo’s daily press conferences were a whole new dimension in public education. He informed, he demanded and he calmed people down.”

Melissa DeRosa, the governor’s top personal aide, now admits that Cuomo intentionally stonewalled to forestall or impede a federal probe. Speaking to Albany Democrats, DeRosa pled for understanding and “context,” insisting that Trump was “tweeting that we killed everyone in nursing homes.”

In good news for Cuomo, however, it turns out Team Biden isn’t planning to pursue the matter. Thank the governor for another lesson in public education: Sometimes, it pays to bury evidence of your guilt.

Seth Barron is managing editor of The American Mind and ­author of the forthcoming book “The Last Days of New York.” Adapted from City Journal.

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Opinion

Joe Biden is even more of a ‘master of disaster’ than Jimmy Carter

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Joe Biden is even more of a 'master of disaster' than Jimmy Carter

President Joe Biden entered office poised to oversee a record recovery and a return to the booming economy and all-round stability of pre-pandemic life. Instead, he’s turned out to be a master of disaster, with self-inflicted crises across the board threatening to set America back to the 1970s — with that era’s infamous “stagflation” as well as a foreign policy in flames.

When Biden took office in January, the nation was on the mend from a post-holiday surge in COVID cases and seeing a light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccines produced at unprecedented speed and nearly a million jabs a day going into American arms. With the unemployment rate — 3.5 percent — at a five-decade low in February 2020, Biden inherited a strong pre-pandemic economy that was already bouncing back strong as the pandemic and lockdowns began to end.

President Donald Trump had also done him a favor at the southern border, getting what was once a real crisis under control by prioritizing strong border security, negotiating a Remain in Mexico policy that saw asylum-seekers await the conclusion of their cases outside the country and instituting a public-health order that kept migrants out while we focused on eradicating the virus.

Biden even looked set to negotiate more peace deals in the Middle East, building on Trump’s Abraham Accords, the first deals in decades between Arab nations and Israel.

But barely four months into his presidency, it’s disaster after disaster as Biden wastes every opportunity his predecessor left him.

US consumer confidence fell unexpectedly this month as rising prices, a hiring slowdown and energy uncertainty hit hard. On Friday, the University of Michigan said its Index of Consumer Sentiment declined to 82.8, from 88.3 in April. Economists had predicted it would rise to 90.4.

It wasn’t the first disappointment for prognosticators this month. Economists expected the country to tack on 1 million jobs in April after seeing gains of 770,000 in March. Instead, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported just 266,000, as the unemployment rate rose to 6.1 percent.

And then it announced that consumer prices rose 4.2 percent year-over-year in April — far worse than economists had predicted. It was the largest such jump since September 2008, when the financial crisis was at its height. Oh, and core inflation rose 0.8 percent from March to April, the biggest rise in nearly four decades.

You can thank Biden’s focus on expanding government at the expense of everyone else. Democrats (alone) passed his $1.9 trillion COVID “relief” bill — which had little to do with either — in March, as things were finally picking up. Throwing money into the economy without much consideration of its necessity directly led to the inflation we’re seeing now, with the money supply up by 25 percent over last year.

That “relief” bill also extended the $300 weekly federal unemployment supplement to Sept. 6, meaning nearly half of people getting checks make more by staying home than going back to work. Employers coast to coast have cited it as a reason they’re having trouble hiring.

Biden claims the jobs numbers show his two other big proposals ($5 trillion total for “infrastructure” and “families”) are desperately needed, but that “medicine” would mean more disasters, not least because they’re (partly) paid for via huge tax hikes on investments and business.

He’s also adding fear and gloom now, by refusing to rule out making his planned tax hikes retroactive.

Gas prices were already on the rise under Biden before the cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline led to long lines at the pump. It now costs $1.05 more per gallon than it did a year ago. With Biden closing the Keystone XL Pipeline on his first day in office and generally vowing to wage war on all fossil fuels, it’s no wonder there’s uncertainty and higher prices.

Nowhere is the self-inflicted nature of Biden’s disasters more plain than on the border. He put a moratorium on deportations his first day in office and ended the Remain in Mexico program as well as all construction on any border barriers. Border apprehensions were at a 20-year high last month, but deportations were at a record monthly low.

And the feds have a record number of unaccompanied minors in custody — around 22,000 — because Biden ordered the public-health rule keeping migrants out to be lifted for solo kids.

Meanwhile, Hamas and its allies have gone on the attack against Israel, leaving it no choice but to defend itself. As Jonathan Schanzer notes, the Biden team’s drive to restore the Iran nuclear deal plainly inspired Tehran’s terrorist clients to start firing, even as it makes Israel less willing to listen to Washington’s efforts to broker a ceasefire.

It’s stunning how much success Biden has managed to reverse in not even four months. With long lines at the pump, slowing growth and rising inflation, it’s looking like the Jimmy Carter era — except that it took Carter years to produce the disasters that this president has fostered in scant months.

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Opinion

Attacking test-in schools is anti-Asian

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Attacking test-in schools is anti-Asian

On Wednesday, a handful of students — including a couple of Brooklyn Tech kids — demonstrated against the specialized high school entrance exam in front of Stuyvesant HS in Lower Manhattan. Teens Take Charge, the group sponsoring the event, chose Stuyvesant as the venue because it is 70 percent Asian and this year just eight black students did well enough on the test to win entry.

What made this affair sad, besides the low turnout, was that The New York Times and NY1 took the rally seriously — thinking this somehow represents a majority opinion. Democratic politicians also pretend that the existence of elite schools, and the tests required to enter them, is a problem. During Thursday’s mayoral debate, only Eric Adams and Kathryn Garcia (a Stuyvesant grad) stood up for the entrance exam.

The problem is not the test. It’s a sign of the larger problem of too many underperforming elementary and middle schools in our city — and the absence of Gifted & Talented classes — in predominantly black and Hispanic neighborhoods.

The SHSAT is a color-blind admissions test where neither political influence nor money can buy entrance. For over 80 years, these schools have offered advancement to all through a high-quality, merit-driven education.

Remarkably, many of the same voices decrying the surge in anti-Asian assaults as the product of “systemic racism” also denounce a race-blind exam that happens to lead to elite high schools being predominantly Asian high schools, even suggesting that this, too, is somehow the product of (extremely well-hidden?) racism.

Dropping admission standards for the specialized high schools means sending in students who aren’t prepared for the rigorous workload, which helps no one and robs others of the challenging education they’ve earned. It’s the pursuit of “equity” at the expense of justice and excellence.

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Opinion

Letters to the Editor — May 16, 2021

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Letters to the Editor — May 16, 2021

End tribalism

Thank you to Ayaan Hirsi Ali (“The tyranny of tribalism,” May 12) for an amazing article about what is happening in America today. It’s a unique look at the old “divide and conquer” issues that have plagued Ali’s native country of Somalia, and are now plaguing America.

There is no longer freedom of speech because you are judged, called names and even canceled if you do not agree with another person’s narrative.

Our country is not perfect, and we’ve certainly have come a long way over the past century. But in the past eight years, it feels like we have stepped back in time, and our politicians and the media are turning our countrymen against each other more and more.

If we do not learn from the past, our failures or the failures of other countries, then what hope do we have?

Gina Beckmann
Salt Point

History’s heroes

Sohrab Ahmari’s column at first seemed to be another lament about “wokeness” (“Wisdom of Ages,” PostOpinion, May 10).

It was so much more. Telling Saint Maximilian Kolbe’s story of heroism transcends the loud voices of the crowd and speaks to a way of living a truly free life.

As he says, “Freedom meant choosing what one ought to do.”

We need to tell these human stories over and over to our children, so they can understand what takes a lifetime to understand, not erase them.

Jayne Lee
Rockway

Cop’s tot save

Bravo to Police Officer Alyssa Vogel for her heroic actions in rushing a wounded child out of harms way and to medical attention (“Hero cop’s assurance,” May 10).

Kudos also to the NYPD and Florida police for catching the suspect. It’s a desperately needed reminder of what police here and throughout the country face daily, and another stark example of how the vast majority of officers handle dangerous situations bravely and effectively.

Conspicuously absent are the usual tweets from the usual suspects decrying police actions. Right-minded people of all stripes need to push back against the selective outrage that fuels the anti-police rhetoric that endangers all of us.

David Perez
Brooklyn

Economy truths

Two of the primary rules in economics are that people act in their own self-interest and they respond to incentives (“Biden’s relief doesn’t ‘work,’ ” Charles Gasparino, May 8).

President Biden’s “stimulus” has created incentives that result in people not wanting to seek work. It’s in their self-interest to stay home because their compensation is on par with what it would be if they went out to work.

Democrats are creating an economy where government drives the market, and that is a recipe for disaster. History is loaded with failed societies where the collective made decisions at the expense of the individual.

When Biden says: “The economy is on the right track,” it just exposes his ignorance of basic economics.

Peter Kelly
Hazlet, NJ

Mother madness

As I read Matthew Walther’s column on mothers now being called “birthing people,” I shudder to think what’s next in the name of “political correctness” (“The Mother of All PC,” PostOpinion, May 12).

Will I be celebrating “sperm donor day” next month with my children? We all need to speak up and stop the madness before all traditions are canceled.

Lou Aiani
Staten Island

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