Democrats Slam 'Lying' Cuomo Over New York Nursing Home Deaths Cover-Up
Governor hit with backlash: 'Trash. No one believes you' - 'People died and Cuomo lied'
New York Democrats have slammed "lying" Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo over the cover-up of COVID-19 deaths in the state's nursing homes.
Gov. Cuomo remained unapologetic and defiant on Monday as he claimed that a "toxic political environment" is to blame for the backlash he is facing over the scandal.
He claims "conspiracy theories" are fueling the controversy rather than his own actions.
The governor alleges that his March order on nursing homes was the subject of "distortion" and was not responsible for bringing the coronavirus – and more deaths – into long-term care facilities.
However, Cuomo's fellow Democratic legislators in New York weren’t buying his explanation as to why he refused for months to release a true accounting of nursing home residents who died from COVID-19.
Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens), whose uncle died from the coronavirus, bluntly said, “all of it is BS” and a cover-up.
“They could have given us the information back in May and June of last year. They chose not to,” Kim said when hearing Cuomo was blaming the DOJ probe for delays in releasing the accurate coronavirus death tally of nursing home residents, according to The New York Post.
The governor sought to clarify his team’s actions at the press conference, telling reporters that the Department of Justice and state legislatures submitted requests for data at the same time last summer.
Cuomo said his team opted to prioritize the federal inquiry and informed state lawmakers their request for data would be "paused" in the meantime.
"We gave precedence to the DOJ," Cuomo said at the press conference.
"We told the assembly that, we told the Senate that and that's what we did.
"We were also in the midst of managing a pandemic."
Cuomo said any disconnect between his office and state lawmakers was the result of a "breakdown in communication between the staff and members of the legislature."
But several Democratic lawmakers, including New York State Sen. Jessica Ramos, denied that Cuomo’s office ever informed them of its decision, according to Fox News.
"Trash. No one believes you," Ramos wrote on Twitter.
Trash. No one believes you. https://t.co/XrVngU5pe6— Jessica Ramos (@jessicaramos) February 15, 2021
"At no point did the Administration notify the legislature about a DOJ investigation," she added.
"People died and Cuomo lied then he had the gall to write a book."
At no point did the Administration notify the legislature about a DOJ investigation. People died and Cuomo lied then he had the gall to write a book. https://t.co/fBtuDPRaW8— Jessica Ramos (@jessicaramos) February 15, 2021
Ramos is one of several state Democratic lawmakers who have called for Cuomo to be stripped of his emergency powers for his mishandling of the nursing home data.
Last week, the Associated Press reported that Cuomo’s administration significantly underreported nursing home deaths, and the New York Post published a leaked transcript of a call in which a top Cuomo aide seemingly admitted his office withheld data out of a concern that it could be used in a federal investigation.
New York State Sens. Alessandra Biaggi and Gustavo Rivera, both Democrats, also took aim at Cuomo’s remarks.
Both lawmakers said they first learned of the DOJ’s probe into New York nursing home deaths in local newspapers, not from the governor’s office.
To NY'ers watching Cuomo's press conference -- it is riddled with lies, theatre, & deflection.— Alessandra Biaggi (@Biaggi4NY) February 15, 2021
Outside of what I read in the paper?— Gustavo Rivera (@NYSenatorRivera) February 15, 2021
Ahem, let me clear my throat here, ahem:
IT. DOES. NOT. https://t.co/zuKwW0lPMz
"No, @NYGovCuomo, 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," Biaggi said on Twitter.
"I found out about a DOJ investigation with the rest of NY'ers in the @nypost story Thursday night."
No, @NYGovCuomo , 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.— Alessandra Biaggi (@Biaggi4NY) February 15, 2021
I found out about a DOJ investigation with the rest of NY'ers in the @nypost story Thursday night.
If the Governor had actually informed the legislature months ago that his office was withholding the data they had on total nursing home deaths, there would’ve been no need for them to have a call with a group of legislators last week to inform them of this for the first time.— Julia Salazar (@JuliaCarmel__) February 15, 2021
Representatives for New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Democrat, also pushed back on Cuomo’s claim.
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. 2/2— Mike Whyland (@mwhyland) February 15, 2021
Cuomo asserted that state legislatures were "wrong" to suggest they were never informed about the delay for their data request.
The governor expressed regret over the delays in releasing data, admitting the requests "should have been prioritized."
"The void we created misinformation and created more anxieties for the families of loved ones," he said.
Cuomo has repeatedly denied that his office withheld or misrepresented data relating to nursing home deaths.