Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) called for an investigation into New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday over his handling of nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The incident is one of the latest examples of Democrats turning on Cuomo after one of his aides last week told New York state Democratic lawmakers that his administration hid its data on nursing home fatalities to avoid federal scrutiny. Ocasio-Cortez also signaled her support for stripping Cuomo of his emergency powers.
“I support our state’s return to co-equal governance and stand with our local officials calling for a full investigation of the Cuomo administration’s handling of nursing homes during COVID-19. Thousands of vulnerable New Yorkers lost their lives in nursing homes throughout the pandemic,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a statement. “Their loved ones and the public deserve answers and transparency from their elected leadership, and the Secretary to the Governor’s remarks warrant a full investigation.”
— Katie Glueck (@katieglueck) February 19, 2021
Secretary of the Governor Melissa DeRosa apologized to Democratic lawmakers on behalf of the Cuomo administration last week for hiding data on nursing homes. DeRosa said, “[W]e froze … 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.”
The revelation sparked bipartisan outrage across the state. Republicans began calling for Cuomo’s resignation and GOP lawmakers are pushing to impeach Cuomo over the scandal. Democrats have started an effort to strip Cuomo of his emergency powers granted to him because of the pandemic. As The Daily Wire reported:
Democratic leaders of the New York State Senate are moving to strip Gov. Andrew Cuomo of his emergency powers as the embattled executive continues to suffer fallout over his handling of the pandemic.
Democratic lawmakers have hammered Cuomo in the days since a top administration aide reportedly admitted that the governor’s team hid health data on seniors over fear that it could spark a federal investigation. Cuomo later denied that his administration hid any data.
Stripping Cuomo of his emergency powers granted during the COVID-19 outbreak would be a stunning rebuke of the governor’s handling of the pandemic by his party allies in the state legislature, according to The New York Times. A vote on the motion to strip the governor of emergency authority could come as soon as next week.
The Department of Justice and the FBI are investigating Cuomo over his role in covering up the pandemic’s impact on his state’s nursing homes. The New York State Department of Health changed the way it tracked fatalities in nursing homes in early May. The change came around the same time Cuomo repealed a health mandate that required nursing homes in the state to readmit residents hospitalized for COVID-19 whether or not they had tested negative for the disease.