Fox News meteorologist Janice Dean, who has sharply criticized former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo after losing both of her in-laws in care homes, believes his CNN host brother Chris’s suspension for advising him behind the scenes should be a ‘cautionary tale’ for journalists.
Speaking to DailyMail.com on Tuesday night, shortly after Chris Cuomo’s indefinite suspension was announced, Dean called the move ‘the very least CNN could do’ in light of the revelations.
‘But is he still being paid? That needs to be clarified,’ asked Dean, who called for Chris Cuomo to be fired. A spokeswoman for Cuomo did not immediately respond to an inquiry from DailyMail.com.
‘I doubt he comes back from this, but I just hope people never forget the charade that went on between those two at the beginning of the pandemic,’ added Dean.
‘This story should be cautionary tale taught in journalism schools. That kind of behavior should never be tolerated again,’ said Dean.
Dean’s mother-in-law and father-in-law both died of COVID in New York care facilities last spring, shortly after Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order forcing such facilities to accept new residents who were infected with the virus.
Fox News meteorologist Janice Dean spoke out in an interview with DailMail.com on Tuesday, slamming Chris Cuomo over revelations that he advised his brother on COVID matters
Reports later emerged that the governor’s office tried to obscure the alarming number if deaths in care facilities, which, together with sexual harassment allegations forced him to resign from office in August.
On Monday, New York Attorney General Letitia James released transcripts of Chris Cuomo’s deposition, revealing that he admitted to advising his brother, then the governor, on ‘initiatives with the pandemic and messaging from the governor about different aspects of how he was handling the COVID crisis.’
‘I’m not surprised,’ Dean said of the latest revelation, ‘because early on in the pandemic, [Chris Cuomo] was hosting his brother on CNN on a pretty regular basis — it was a comedy routine while thousands of people were dying.’
‘Early on in the pandemic, [Chris Cuomo] was hosting his brother on CNN on a pretty regular basis — it was a comedy routine while thousands of people were dying,’ said Dean
The TV personality told investigators during a subpoenaed deposition that he advised his brother last year ‘about initiatives with the pandemic and messaging from the governor about different aspects of how he was handling the COVID crisis
Dean said that watching the Cuomo brothers ‘joking about getting a COVID test’ while a human tragedy was unfolding in nursing homes was shocking and infuriating to her family.
‘We’re in a state of trauma and mourning, not being about to see them, and meanwhile the Cuomo brothers were having a great old time,’ she said. ‘But I’m grateful for their disgusting moments on television together, because that’s what fuels my advocacy, to be honest.’
Michael and Dolores Newman, the parents of Dean’s husband, Sean, died within weeks of each other in New York care facilities in the spring of 2020.
Michael Newman, an 83-year-old former firefighter, was in a Brooklyn facility with dementia and other issues when he died on March 29, a few hours after Sean got a call saying his father wasn’t feeling well.
Dolores, 79, was in assisted living on Long Island, and and hoped her husband would join her when his health improved. She died on April 13.
The Cuomo administration’s directive that nursing homes could not deny admission to someone solely because they had COVID-19 came five days before Michael Newman’s death.
Six days before Dolores Newman died, the policy was expanded to cover assisted living facilities like the one where she resided.
Dean’s mother-and father-in law, Dolores and Michael Newman (above), are among the patients who died of coronavirus in nursing homes and assisted living facilities
At the time, New York was desperately worried about running out of hospital space, and Andrew Cuomo blamed his directive on Donald Trump, saying he was bound by CDC guidelines.
But the order was rescinded in May amid furious criticism. A damning NY attorney general report released in January that showed Cuomo’s administration misrepresented the number of people who died of the virus in nursing homes.
Though her professional beat for Fox News is the weather, Dean has been a tireless and vocal advocate for Andrew Cuomo to face accountability over his handling of nursing homes, and believes that Chris Cuomo’s involvement in secretly advising his brother demands answers as well.
‘He should be fired, but it would be a step in the right direction if he resigned and took some responsibility for his actions.’
‘What happened to “without fear or favor”? It’s very disappointing, and I think there has to be some kind of accountability,’ she added.
‘What goes on behind the scenes — I guess it’s a tale as old as time, reporters and politicians cozying up to each other,’ remarked Dean.
CNN on Tuesday evening said that Cuomo, 51, was suspended indefinitely, with Anderson Cooper extending his hour-long show to two hours, to cover Chris’s 9pm slot.
CNN said that documents released by the New York attorney general on Monday, showing text messages between Chris and his brother’s advisors as they struggled to handle allegations of sexual harassment, reveal ‘a greater level of involvement in his brother’s efforts than we previously knew’.
Chris has admitted on air that he helped his brother as he battled the allegations, made by 12 women. Andrew, 63, resigned as governor of New York in August.
But Chris has insisted his involvement was minimal, and he was never a member of his brother’s team. The text messages released on Monday contradicted him, showing constant contact with the then-governor’s aides.
CNN on Monday said that they were reviewing his future, but on Tuesday they said their $6 million-a-year star was suspended.
‘The New York attorney general’s office released transcripts and exhibits Monday that shed new light on Chris Cuomo’s involvement in his brother’s defense,’ CNN said on Tuesday.
‘The documents, which we were not privy to before their release, raise serious questions.
‘When Chris admitted to us that he had offered advice to his brother’s staff, he broke our rules and we acknowledged that publicly.
‘But we also appreciated the unique position he was in and understood his need to put family first, and job second.
‘However these documents point to a greater level of involvement in his brother’s efforts than we previously knew.
‘As a result we have suspended Chris indefinitely, pending further evaluation.’
CNN took action to suspend Chris Cuomo indefinitely following an avalanche of criticism even from normally sympathetic mainstream media outlets.
In the deposition released on Monday, Cuomo also revealed to investigators that he and his brother discussed former president Donald Trump administration ‘frequently’ when the 45th president was in office, often focusing on ‘event-driven’ topics.
‘We spoke about the president often during his entire administration,’ he said.
Chats about Trump sometimes centered around the ‘Me Too’ movement.
‘[We discussed] the nature of what was resonating and what wasn’t and why and what that meant about what was happening in society and the media,’ Cuomo said.
When asked about the governor’s thoughts on the matter, Cuomo replied: ‘That it is highly political in perspective, that we haven’t gotten to a place where we all see things the same way. And that was something that he believed very much politically benefited the former president, that it was very different how things were viewed in his camp, I guess you’d call it.’
He and Andrew partook in campaign-related discussions ‘as needed,’ said Cuomo, who added that they talked ‘more frequently’ when campaigns were in full-swing.
‘I hear more from my brother when he is in a particular time of need of my take on what’s happening,’ Cuomo told investigators.
Chris Cuomo (left) helped his then-governor brother Andrew (right) navigate several storms during the past year, damning attorney general documents released Monday reveal
Chris Cuomo on Monday night ignored the subject of his own communications with his brother Andrew and his team earlier this year, during the then-governor’s sexual harassment scandal
Cuomo’s conversations with his big brother also discussed the ‘me too movement,’ in relation to Supreme Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination, which was mired by rape allegations.
Cuomo said he discussed Kavanaugh’s case with his sibling.
‘He was following the situation with interest like everybody else,’ Cuomo said. ‘I remember him believing that Kavanaugh was in a lot of trouble.’
Chris Cuomo returned to CNN to host his show on Monday night after the Thanksgiving break, and pointedly ignored revelations that he advised his brother Andrew on his response to the sex harassment scandal – despite Chris insisting he was not deeply involved.
The attorney general’s documents also exposed dozens of text messages with his brother Andrew’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa.
Chris Cuomo told investigators under oath that they only had ‘irregular contact’.
When he was criticized for failing to mention the scandal on air Monday, CNN’s media commentator tweeted: ‘For what it’s worth, when Chris Cuomo addressed his actions on the air back in August, he said “this will be my final word on it,” and he hasn’t addressed the matter on TV since.’
Chris’s decision on Monday not to discuss the saga involving his involvement in his brother’s situation came despite previously having vowed to be open with his viewers.
Newly-released texts from CNN host Chris Cuomo (right) reveal he helped strategize brother Andrew Cuomo’s (left) response to the sexual harassment scandal earlier this year
Cuomo’s colleagues in the liberal media have turned on him in the wake of the transcript and text message records.
Journalists and some politicians have called for Cuomo to be fired immediately, calling his actions ‘deeply unethical’. CNN’s hosts and reporters are treading carefully, only saying Cuomo was ‘more intimately involved than previously known.’
New York Times columnist Jane Coaston appeared on The View where she called Cuomo’s actions ‘an abuse of power’.
‘This is a massive ethical breach. If you work at a news agency like I do, we do, you understand there are just basic things like if you found out that an intern did this they’d be gone a second after these text messages came in. This is an abuse of power.
Rolling Stone’s coverage of the text revelations was damning of Chris Cuomo, one of CNN’s many hosts
‘The only reason that Chris Cuomo was able to do any of this, get sources on some of his accusers… you see in these text messages how it is not just Chris Cuomo, to be clear. You see people talking about these accusers like they are just nuisances,’ she said.
Rolling Stone editor-in-chief Noah Schachtman then tweeted: ‘If this story is accurate, it describes a series of shocking ethical breaches — fireable offenses at any other news outlet.’
The New York-born presenter has had a difficult time trying to judge when to discuss the scandal, and when to ignore it.
On March 1, he said that he was aware of the accusations about his brother, after a third woman came forward to accuse him, but could not report on it.
‘Obviously I am aware of what is going on with my brother,’ he said.
‘And obviously I cannot cover it because he is my brother. Now, of course CNN has to cover it. They have covered it extensively and they will continue to do so.’
He then moved on, having thanked his audience ‘for being straight with me, and I’ve always been straight with you’. He said he ‘always cared very deeply about these issues, and profoundly so.’
Several weeks of extremely uncomfortable handovers then ensued, as Cuomo refused to discuss the news – which at the time was a big story – while his co-hosts before and after discussed it extensively.
Despite having said he did not want to talk about it, when news of his assistance for his brother emerged in May, Cuomo apologized to viewers and colleagues.
When a previous New York attorney general’s report was published, on August 3, Chris Cuomo pointedly refused to discuss it – even while it was the lead item on his colleagues’ shows.
On August 16, shortly after Andrew resigned, Cuomo addressed it again, defending his behavior during the sex harassment scandal engulfing his brother – telling CNN viewers that he was not an adviser to Governor Andrew Cuomo, but rather: ‘I’m a brother.’
Chris’s stated intention of ignoring the story, and then being forced repeatedly to address it, has led to the anchor having a difficult year, with frequent calls for him to be fired.