By CHARLIE SPIERING
President Joe Biden met with mayors and governors Friday, including New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who is weathering a national scandal surrounding nursing home deaths from coronavirus in his state.
Cuomo sat on one of the Oval Office couches during the meeting, wearing a mask. Govs. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR), Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), and Larry Hogan (R-MD) also attended the meeting.
Biden spoke only about his coronavirus rescue package, continuing to argue the United States must spend $1.9 trillion to help Americans suffering from the pandemic. He did not take questions from the reporters in the room.
When reporters asked about Cuomo’s scandal, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the president met with Cuomo and other governors “not to give anyone a stamp of approval,” but to discuss the coronavirus rescue package.
News broke Thursday that Cuomo ordered more than 9,000 recovering coronavirus patients into nursing homes and tried to cover up the extent of the death toll.
Cuomo’s top aide Melissa DeRosa admitted Wednesday that the governor’s office covered up the extent of the death toll in nursing homes because they were worried federal prosecutors would use the numbers against them.
DeRosa blamed Trump for their decision, accusing the former president of turning the number of nursing home deaths into a “giant political football.” In August, the Justice department announced an investigation of nursing home deaths in states where governors issued orders requiring nursing homes to accept coronavirus patients.
The New York Times reports that about 15,000 confirmed and presumed deaths were connected to nursing home and long-term care facilities.