Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D-NY) top aide admitted that her team withheld the number of deaths related to COVID-19 in New York’s nursing homes to shield the Cuomo government from federal investigation and political scrutiny.
The New York Post reported on Thursday that Melissa DeRosa, New York’s secretary to the governor, apologized to Democrat state legislators for “political” damage caused by the Cuomo government’s suppression of information related to nursing home COVID-19 deaths.
In a recorded call with state Democrat lawmakers, DeRosa said Cuomo’s team feared a federal investigation in the context of former President Donald Trump’s highlighting of coronavirus-related deaths in New York’s nursing homes. This fear motivated Cuomo’s government to suppress the statistics against requests for such information from the state’s government and citizens’ organizations.
Cuomo’s team prioritized political protection over transparency with New York’s citizens, assessed Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens), who partook in the conference call.
“They had to first make sure that the state was protected against federal investigation.” Kim told the New York Post. He said 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.”
— New York Post (@nypost) February 11, 2021
DeRosa apologized to state Democrats for negative political consequences resulting from revelations of the Cuomo’s government’s negligence and obfuscation. She said, “So we do apologize. I do understand the position that you were put in. I know that it is not fair. It was not our intention to put you in that political position with the Republicans.”
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) called for an obstruction of justice investigation into Cuomo and New York’s executive branch.
DOJ needs to immediately open an Obstruction of Justice investigation into Gov Cuomo & his admin. It's now being reported there has been a direct admission of their nursing home coverup. The families of thousands of dead NY seniors deserve accountability.https://t.co/YAHhdORKnN
— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) February 12, 2021
Rep. Steve Scalise (D-LA) told Breitbart News in August that New York families who had loved ones die from COVID-19 asked him for help in obtaining information from Cuomo related to nursing home deaths.
In June, Breitbart News reported that Cuomo neglected to use medical resources made available to him by the Trump administration as part of the Empire State’s coronavirus response.
Left-wing and partisan Democrat news media outlets regularly praised Cuomo’s conduct as governor in the context of the coronavirus outbreak, with many framing Cuomo’s approach towards combating COVID-19 as evidence of presidential capabilities. Despite framing the spread of COVID-19 as a “crisis,” Cuomo wrote a book, American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic, during his time heading New York’s public health strategy.
Cuomo’s memoir, ostensibly about “leadership” in times of crisis, omitted any mention of the number of nursing home deaths related to COVID-19 in New York.
In August, Cuomo described COVID-19 as a metaphor revealing “antisemitism,” “racism,” and “anti-Latino” and “anti-immigrant fervor” he linked to Trump. Cuomo later dismissed criticisms of his COVID-19 nursing home policies as a “conspiracy.”
The total number of COVID-19-related deaths in nursing homes and assisted living facilities is 15,049, according to New York’s latest information.
The Associated Press speculated that Cuomo’s government’s underreporting of deaths linked to COVID-19 in nursing homes may have dealt “a potential blow to his image as a pandemic hero.”