South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is accusing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of cover-ups in light of scandals plaguing his administration.
Noem, a Republican who is considered to be a potential contender for president in 2024, told Fox News’s Jeanine Pirro on Saturday that Cuomo appears to be attempting to conceal both sexual misconduct accusations and the nursing home death rate following his March 2020 directive, reversed in May, that forced nursing homes to accept COVID-19 patients.
“He’s tried to cover up his actions throughout the COVID pandemic. He tried to cover up the damage done by what happened in nursing homes, the deaths that happened there,” Noem said, adding, “Now it appears as though he’s trying to cover up what has happened with these young women in his life as well.”
Noem, who has faced her own share of controversy for her handling of the pandemic and high rate of COVID-19 cases in her state, appeared on Fox News after the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal published back-to-back reports adding two more women, Karen Hinton and Ana Liss, as well as several anonymous former aides to the list of accusers claiming the governor is guilty of past sexual misconduct in his work environment.
Three women, including two former aides to Cuomo, aides have already come out with allegations against the governor in recent weeks, and a former journalist also accused his administration of harassment and manipulative tactics.
Cuomo’s director of communications denied the Washington Post’s report, calling Hinton “a known antagonist of the Governor’s who is attempting to take advantage of this moment to score cheap points with made up allegations from 21 years ago.” The governor also apologized this week for making his accusers feel uncomfortable but denied ever inappropriately touching them.
Cuomo, who was considered to be a possible candidate for president and wrote a book bragging about his handling of the pandemic, has agreed to refer the sexual harassment claims to New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, who began an investigation on Monday. James has asked Cuomo on Friday to preserve all potentially relevant records and communications. Meanwhile, the FBI and the Brooklyn federal prosecutor’s office are investigating Cuomo’s handling of nursing homes and nursing home death data during the coronavirus pandemic.
While the Democratic governor is now facing bipartisan backlash, Noem told Pirro the positive narrative the media painted of Cuomo earlier in the pandemic led to a delayed reaction by many until the allegations really started to pile up.
“What we need to make sure that people understand is that the American people deserve better,” Noem said. “They not only deserve better leaders, [but] they deserve better governors than Gov. Cuomo. They also deserve better media, and the truth, and people that are actually reporters now rather than political operatives.”