Disgraced former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his team schemed to discredit Fox News’s Janice Dean, who used her influence to call attention to the Democrat’s failed COVID-19 policies — which left both of her in-laws, one in an assisted living facility and the other in a nursing home — fighting alone and eventually dying of the virus.
Cuomo’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, and his brother, former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, were among those who plotted to shame Dean and characterize her as “merely a right-wing commentator” for publicly criticizing the governor’s COVID-19 response and holding him accountable on Twitter and on TV for the deaths in her family, a new report from CNBC suggests.
“I have not seen the coverage of this,” Dean said in 2020. “This should be one of the biggest stories of this pandemic, of 2020. Twenty percent of our lost loved ones are from nursing homes. And, it’s because Governor Cuomo, and several other Governors, by the way, in different states, forced COVID-recovering patients into nursing homes.”
During several reported meetings with the governor present, Cuomo’s team tasked certain people including Chris, who was recently fired by CNN after a series of text messages revealed his role in trying to downplay his brother’s sexual misconduct scandal, with digging up dirt on Dean’s politics to use against her.
The governor’s spokesman Rich Azzopardi originally claimed there were never any group strategy discussions about Dean but later reworded his stance to deflect blame from himself.
“We had no ‘strategy sessions’ about Janice Dean and to the extent that the press office had to respond to something she said, it was handled by the press office and did not rise to the level of something the governor would be engaged with,” Azzopardi told CNBC.
“I have no knowledge of this ever happening and you must ask, why then did the Attorney General not put anything about it in her report or ask any of the relevant people about it?” he added.
While it is unclear if the governor’s office ever initiated an attack on Dean, she told Fox News that Azzopardi, “Cuomo’s henchman,” “was attacking not only me but my sister in law on Twitter saying ‘get a life’ and called us a death cult.”
Dean also said she wasn’t surprised to hear her name come up with the Cuomos.
“Very early on I heard from a good source who knows the family very well to watch my back. This was before you know any of the real press coverage, the hundreds of op-eds I wrote, all of the appearances that I did on Fox News. He told me ‘watch your back,’” Dean said.