New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo won an award for his "leadership on public safety throughout the coronavirus pandemic," despite New York having the most COVID-19 deaths in the entire country.
Cuomo, along with Massachusetts Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, were the recipients of the 2020 Edward M. Kennedy Institute Award for Inspired Leadership.
"Congratulations to Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts and Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York, the 2020 recipients of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute Award for Inspired Leadership for their nonpartisan leadership on public safety throughout the coronavirus pandemic on behalf of their respective states," the Edward M. Kennedy Institute said.
The institute stated that the award "recognizes an individual who possesses qualities that reflect the legacy of Senator Edward M. Kennedy: modeling exemplary leadership, inspiring others to action, and making a difference through service to the community and country."
The governors were presented the 2020 Edward M. Kennedy Institute Award by presidential debate moderator and NBC News White House Correspondent Kristen Welker in a virtual ceremony on Wednesday.
Massachusetts has suffered 1,626 coronavirus deaths per million people, third worst in the nation. While Cuomo's New York has 1,816 COVID-19 deaths per million people, the second worst in the United States, only trailing New Jersey. New York has the most COVID-19 deaths in the U.S., with more than 35,000, which is 11,000 more than Texas, which has the second most.
Cuomo has been widely criticized for his directive on March 25 to send coronavirus patients into nursing homes. A report from the Associated Press estimated that more than 4,500 recovering COVID-19 patients were sent to New York's already vulnerable nursing homes because of Cuomo's directive.
Last month, it was announced that Cuomo won an Emmy. The governor was declared the winner of the International Emmy Founder's Award "in recognition of his leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic and his masterful use of television to inform and calm people around the world."
Fox News meteorologist Janice Dean, who lost her elderly in-laws to the coronavirus in a New York City nursing home earlier this year, blasted the decision to reward Cuomo.
"It's just more grief. Every time we see this governor celebrating himself on television, it's just a reminder of the people that we lost, partly because of his leadership," Dean said.