Embattled New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) has reportedly taken over the leadership of the weekly White House conference calls with the nation’s governors about the coronavirus pandemic, since President Joe Biden does not join them.
Philip Wegmann of RealClearPolitics reported Monday that Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have both opted not to join the weekly conference calls with governors, unlike former President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
Wegmann’s reporting was confirmed during Monday’s White House press briefing. Press Secretary Jen Psaki demanded to know how many governors he had spoken with, and insisted Biden had never intended to join the calls, despite his pledge a conference call with governors after the election in November that he would work closely with them once he took office.
In addition, Wegmann reported that Gov. Cuomo is now leading the weekly conference calls between the governors and the Biden administration’s coronavirus team, due to his role as head of the National Governors Association:
Andrew Cuomo now leads the calls as chairman of the National Governors Association. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki explained that the New York governor was put in charge instead of the vice president because a change was needed. One of the reasons, Psaki told reporters in March, “is that there were operational aspects of the way the last administration approached COVID and approached the distribution of vaccines or approached planning and engagement with governors that wasn’t working.”
Cuomo has come under severe criticism for his policy of forcing nursing homes to accept coronavirus patients in the early months of the pandemic, when the risk to older people was already well known and there were alternatives available.