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‘Despicable’: New York Dems Denounce Cuomo Claim He Informed Them Of ‘Pause’ In Releasing Info
New York Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo speaks to supporters at the Sheraton New York on election night, November 2, 2010 in New York City.
Michael Nagle/Getty Images

On Monday, New York Democrat Governor Andrew Cuomo claimed that legislators in the state Assembly and Senate were told about a Justice Department “pause” in responding to lawmakers’ requests for nursing home data. That claim was roundly denounced by New York state Democratic legislators, one of whom called Cuomo’s claim “despicable.”

Concerning the “pause,” Cuomo stated:

This past year, there was a toxic political environment and everything gets politicized and there’s political spin and then there are facts — two very different things and I just want to be sure people have facts. Last August, Department of Justice sent a letter to Democratic governors, four of them: New York, New Jersey, Michigan and Pennsylvania asking for information on public nursing homes. New York State Legislature also sent a letter asking for information on nursing homes. We paused the State Legislators’ request while we were finishing the DOJ request.

We told both houses, the Assembly and the Senate, that we had DOJ request for information and we were prioritizing that. We did give the DOJ request precedence and we told both houses that. The August request, we replied to fully. Separately, DOH got a DOJ letter signed by Jeffrey Clark, the attorney, in October — which we learned about from the New York Post. We didn’t even get the letter. The Post called and told us about the letter and that requested information on private nursing homes and we have been voluntarily producing information on that on a rolling basis as recently as January 8 as offered by DOJ — the rolling basis production.

Second, we paused the State Legislature’s request. We paused the State Legislature’s request. We voluntarily complied with the DOJ request for information. Two very different things, The New York State DOH has always fully and publicly reported all COVID deaths in nursing homes and hospitals. They have always been fully reported. 

The editor of the Albany Times-Union asked New York state senators if Cuomo’s claim that legislative staff was told about the DOJ “pause” in responding to lawmakers’ requests for nursing home data was true. “[Gov. Cuomo] now claims legislative STAFF was told about the DOJ ‘pause’ in responding to lawmakers’ requests for nursing home data,” Casey Seiler tweeted. “Does that square with your experiences, @NYSenatorRivera, @JamesSkoufis, @DickGottfried et al?”

Sen. Gustavo Rivera answered, “Outside of what I read in the paper? Ahem, let me clear my throat here, ahem: IT. DOES. NOT.”

A Politico reporter noted, “I honestly don’t think I would’ve placed ‘Assembly staff’ high on my rankings of the people most likely to get thrown under the bus today.”

New York State Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou tweeted: “The legislature had no knowledge of a DOJ inquiry. The legislature at a public hearing asked questions of the executive and of the health commissioner and then was lied to. The things said in the last press conference were frightening because for their blatant goal to mislead.” She added, “Also I should mention, a DOJ inquiry shouldn’t matter. The governor should not lie or withhold or cover up information that we need to legislate in order to keep New Yorkers safe.”

The communications director for the New York Speaker noted:

Let me be clear, the Governor’s office reached out to staff and said they needed more time to supply information requested by the members. They were not asking for permission and it wasn’t a negotiation. It was merely a heads up. They simply said that it would not be ready by the time the Chair and the members requested it. Other than what was in the news, the Speaker had no knowledge of an official DOJ inquiry.

State Assembly member Ron Kim, who has slammed Cuomo over his policy vis-à-vis nursing homes during the COVID pandemic, followed by tweeting, “Gov Cuomo tried to throw our Speaker and our central staff under the bus today when his top aide admitted to obstructing justice. That’s beyond despicable.”

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  ‘Despicable’: New York Dems Denounce Cuomo Claim He Informed Them Of ‘Pause’ In Releasing Info