Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is facing bipartisan calls for accountability after one of his top aides admitted that his administration covered up the extent of COVID-19’s effect on nursing homes to avoid a federal investigation.
Democrats have joined New York GOP leaders in calling for accountability after Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa told Democratic lawmakers that the Cuomo administration hid the state’s nursing-home COVID-19 death toll to avoid federal scrutiny from the Trump administration’s Department of Justice.
“I’ve seen enough. We need real accountability for this,” Democratic state Sen. Julia Salazar tweeted Thursday.
“This is a betrayal of the public trust,” Democratic state Sen. Andrew Gounardes added. “There needs to be full accountability for what happened, and the legislature needs to reconsider its broad grant of emergency powers to the governor.”
Republicans across the state are calling for Cuomo to resign from office over his handling of the pandemic. The Democratic governor took heavy criticism last year for a March 25 order that mandated nursing homes readmit coronavirus patients even if they tested positive for the disease. Cuomo did not repeal the health order until weeks later in May.
“For over six months, day after day, in briefing after briefing, Governor Cuomo stood before New Yorkers and lied about his directive that contributed to the deaths of thousands of seniors,” said Marc Molinaro, Dutchess County executive and a former gubernatorial candidate, according to Politico. “In the coming days he will cynically try to convince us that it was for our own good — that it was someone else’s fault. This is another lie. What is true, is Andrew Cuomo has proved himself unworthy of our trust, and unfit for public office.”
New York GOP Chair Nick Langworthy said: “Prosecution and impeachment discussions must begin right away.”
State Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt asserted “if the Governor is involved, he should be immediately removed from office.”
DeRosa met with Democratic lawmakers over a video conference call to apologize for the heat they have taken from GOP opponents and critics over the Cuomo administration’s secrecy surrounding the state’s elderly population. As The Daily Wire reported:
The New York Post reports that DeRosa told state Democratic leaders during a video conference call that “‘we froze’ out of fear the true numbers would ‘be used against us.’” During the call, DeRosa reportedly explained that the Cuomo administration’s decision to rebuff a “legislative request” for the COVID-19 death count in August was in large part motivated by the thought that “right around the same time, [then-President Donald Trump] turns this into a giant political football.”
The report continues to quote DeRosa, who allegedly said, “He starts tweeting that we killed everyone in nursing homes. He starts going after [New Jersey Gov. Phil] Murphy, starts going after [California Gov. Gavin] Newsom, starts going after [Michigan Gov.] Gretchen Whitmer.”