The Republican Governors Association (RGA) is seeking to determine the extent of coordination between Democrat Govs. Andrew Cuomo (NY) and Gretchen Whitmer (MI) on the controversial policy of putting coronavirus-infected patients into nursing homes to recuperate.
The group filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with Whitmer Tuesday to obtain communications between the two state executives and their aides.
According to the RGA:
Last month, it was revealed that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo lied to the American people during the COVID-19 crisis. Governor Cuomo and his staff tried to cover up the actual number of those who died because of his policies. He forced nursing homes to accept patients who were diagnosed with COVID-19.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued a similar directive even though experts warned early on that such policies would put in danger those who required our attention and care. And as The Detroit News pointed out in an Aug. 5, 2020 editorial, Governor Whitmer refused to back down even as other governors changed course. Governor Whitmer even joined forces with Governor Cuomo in an attempt to deflect from their own bad policies by claiming that simply asking for transparency and additional information amounted to politicizing a crisis.
Dave Rexrode, RGA executive director, requested “any and all” communications between the two governors and/or their staffs “regarding nursing homes and long-term care facilities” from August 15 to September 15, 2020.
In August, the federal Department of Justice (DOJ) sent requests to both governors, as well as two others, seeking data related to coronavirus-linked nursing home deaths.
Cuomo and Whitmer issued a joint statement accusing the DOJ of partisan motivations.
“This is nothing more than a transparent politicization of the Department of Justice in the middle of the Republican National Convention,” Whitmer and Cuomo, who is embroiled in his own nursing home death scandal, said, according to the Daily Gazette.
“It’s no coincidence the moment the Trump administration is caught weakening the CDC’s COVID-19 testing guidelines to artificially lower the number of positive cases, they launched this nakedly partisan deflection,” the duo said.
“At least 14 states — including Kentucky, Utah and Arizona — have issued similar nursing home guidance, all based on federal guidelines, yet the four states listed in the DOJ’s request have a Democratic governor,” Whitmer and Cuomo claimed.
The Michigan House Oversight Committee held a hearing last week on Whitmer’s policy, and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) refused to answer questions.
“We asked them to testify, we asked them last week. We really wanted them to testify, because there are questions that need to be answered. They refused to testify. They sent us this letter instead,” state Rep. Steve Johnson (R) told the committee.
The committee chairman indicated the letter claimed MDHHS has “the greatest data out there,” but did not share any of it.
“I’m just a simple guy, but in my mind if you have the best data out there, wouldn’t you share it with people?” he asked.