Several Democrat lawmakers lashed out at Andrew Cuomo after the New York Governor attempted to defend himself in the middle of an explosive nursing home scandal.
During a press conference over the holiday weekend, Cuomo sought to clarify bombshell remarks made by Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor, in which she admitted in a conference call that the administration hid information on COVID nursing home deaths from federal investigators.
The New York Post first reported that DeRosa told leading Democrats that the administration feared the data could “be used against us” by the Justice Department.
After former President Trump directed “the Department of Justice to do an investigation into us,” the Cuomo aide said, “basically, we froze.”
“We were in a position where we weren’t sure if what we were going to give to the Department of Justice, or what we give to you guys, what we start saying, was going to be used against us while we weren’t sure if there was going to be an investigation,” DeRosa added.
The New York Times reported that attorney general Letitia James, a Democrat, accused Cuomo and his administration, particularly officials at the State Health Department, of undercounting COVID deaths at nursing homes by as much as 50%.
State officials had originally given a figure of about 8,677.
WWNY News reports that the number was actually well over 15,000 seniors who died in nursing homes.
Governor Cuomo famously issued an executive order in March forcing nursing homes to take on patients that had tested positive for coronavirus.
In the midst of his defense, Governor Cuomo claimed that the DOJ and state legislature had both requested data and that he simply chose to prioritize the information finding-task to address the federal matter.
This statement ruffled some feathers: “We gave precedence to the DOJ. We told the assembly that, we told the Senate that and that’s what we did.”
But multiple Democrats said that isn’t true.
New York State Sen. Jessica Ramos replied to Cuomo’s claim by calling it “trash.”
“At no point did the Administration notify the legislature about a DOJ investigation,” she added in another tweet. “People died and Cuomo lied then he had the gall to write a book.”
Democrat New York state senator Alessandra Biaggi also suggests Cuomo was lying.
“No, [Governor Cuomo], you did not tell the *entire* Senate or Assembly that there was a DOJ investigation, as the reason why you didn’t share the nursing home numbers,” she tweeted.
“I found out about a DOJ investigation with the rest of NY’ers in the [New York Post] story Thursday night.”
And there were plenty more who called out the lie on social media.
Fox News meteorologist Janice Dean, one of the few voices to continually hound Governor Cuomo over the nursing home scandal for months on end, said “people should go to jail” over the cover-up.
Dean’s in-laws were victims of COVID-19, where nursing homes in New York played a part.
She reiterated that call by describing Cuomo as a “criminal.”
She wasn’t the only one, as several lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle demanded subpoenas be submitted in getting to the bottom of the cover-up.
“I reiterate my call for [Cuomo] and his administration to be subpoenaed for all pertinent information,” Ramos tweeted. “We need answers and grieving families deserve justice. Enough with the spin.”
Cuomo has continually denied that his office withheld or misrepresented data relating to nursing home deaths.
“New York State DOH fully and publicly reported all COVID deaths in nursing homes and hospitals,” he said at the press conference, a direct contradiction of Democrat AG James’ findings.
It looks like even his own party isn’t buying into the spin any longer.
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