Rep. Elise M. Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, appeared on Fox News Saturday morning ahead of the president’s first rally since February to discuss precautions at the event, and to accuse Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of mishandling COVID-19 and nursing homes in New York.
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Ms. Stefanik, appearing from Tulsa, Okla., said there was a line wrapping around the event center when she got in Friday night, about a day before the rally was set to begin. Ms. Stefanik will be the opening speaker at the rally, the first for President Donald J. Trump in months.
“There is so much energy in support of the president — over a million RSVPs,” Ms. Stefanik said on Fox. “I am excited.”
Ms. Stefanik was asked about potential criticism that could arise for holding the rally, and the possible effects it could have on COVID-19 cases.
“We are seeing peaceful protests and assemblies of people across the country who are standing up for their First Amendment right,” Ms. Stefanik said. “You can’t choose one group and not another to allow them to come together.
“Just like we’ve seen people marching in the streets for justice for George Floyd, it’s also important to let President Trump supporters gather and really embrace their First Amendment rights. I think what’s really important are the precautions that are being taken with health guidance,” she added.
She was then asked about the number of COVID-19 cases being found in nursing homes and how the state handled it. Ms. Stefanik went on to accuse Gov. Cuomo of issuing an executive action that did not follow guidance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, forcing nursing homes to take positive COVID-19 cases regardless of the nursing homes’ ability to provide adequate personal protective equipment and testing capacity. Ms. Stefanik said she has called on the state Department of Health and Human Services to conduct an independent investigation. Gov. Cuomo has said the accusations against him are politically motivated and an attempt to take attention off other matters.
“I have spoken to constituents in my district who have lost loved ones and in some cases have lost both their elderly parents,” Ms. Stefanik said. “He needs to be held accountable, and this is about the families. These families deserve answers. They deserve transparency and they deserve accountability.”