A Democrat New York state assemblyman claimed on Wednesday that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) threatened to “destroy” him after the lawmaker criticized Cuomo’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic as it related to the state’s nursing homes.
Assemblyman Ron Kim told CNN that Cuomo called him last Thursday “to threaten my career if I did not cover up for Melissa [DeRosa] and what she said.”
“He tried to pressure me to issue a statement, and it was a very traumatizing experience,” Kim said, adding that Cuomo also allegedly told him that “we’re in this business together and we don’t cross certain lines and he said I hadn’t seen his wrath and that he can destroy me.”
A spokesperson for Cuomo denied that the governor threatened to destroy Kim. Kim, who is in the far-left wing of the Democrat Party, has been one of the most vocal Democrat critics of Cuomo throughout the pandemic.
The conversation came after the New York Post reported that Cuomo’s top aide allegedly admitted to New York Democrats that the governor hid data on nursing homes so that the Department of Justice would not find out.
The Post reported:
The stunning admission of a coverup was made by secretary to the governor Melissa DeRosa during a video conference call with state Democratic leaders in which she said the Cuomo administration had rebuffed a legislative request for the tally in August because “right around the same time, [then-President Donald Trump] turns this into a giant political football,” according to an audio recording of the two-hour-plus meeting. …
In addition to attacking Cuomo’s fellow Democratic governors, DeRosa said, Trump “directs the Department of Justice to do an investigation into us.”
“And basically, we froze,” she told the lawmakers on the call.
“Because then 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: “That played a very large role into this.”
Kim responded to the story by claiming that DeRosa’s remarks sounded “like they admitted that they were trying to dodge having any incriminating evidence that might put the administration or the [Health Department] in further trouble with the Department of Justice.”
“That’s how I understand their reasoning of why they were unable to share, in real time, the data,” Kim said. “They had to first make sure that the state was protected against federal investigation.”
Kim, whose uncle died from the coronavirus in April while living in a nursing home, said that Cuomo needed to show how “contrite” he was “to the public and the families” over the debacle that unfolded in the state’s nursing homes.