Vice President Mike Pence slammed New York governor Andrew Cuomo's (D.) coronavirus leadership on Monday, saying his "poor decisions" had cost lives.
"Our hearts grieve for the fact that one in five of all the American lives that have been lost in the coronavirus pandemic were lost in the state of New York, and some of that was because of poor decisions by the state and by Governor Cuomo," Pence said on Fox News.
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More than 32,000 of the country's 155,000 coronavirus deaths have occurred in New York. That's more than twice as high as the second-highest state in deaths, New Jersey, and more than three times as many as the third-highest, California.
While Cuomo received extensive media praise for his initial handling of the pandemic, he has since come under fire for some of his decisions, especially his policy forcing nursing homes to accept coronavirus-positive patients. Cuomo reversed the mandate in May after thousands of deaths in those facilities. Cuomo also struggled to coordinate coronavirus policy with New York City mayor Bill de Blasio (D.), a longtime political foe, as the country's largest city became the epicenter of the crisis. A Wall Street Journal investigation published June 11 found they enacted insufficient isolation protocols, facilitated improper patient transfers, and circulated mixed messaging on when front-line workers could return to their jobs, among other problems.
Pence also said New Yorkers could see through Cuomo's "on-again, off-again" praise and criticism of the Trump administration and recognized how the president had aided the state. Cuomo said Trump had "delivered for New York" and called aid from the federal government a "phenomenal accomplishment" in April, but he has since sharpened his tone, at one point calling Trump's response a "virus of American division and federal incompetence."