Melissa DeRosa, New York’s secretary to the governor who admitted that the Cuomo administration deliberately covered up nursing home coronavirus death data out of fear of a federal investigation, has been “appointed by the Biden administration to serve as an adviser for COVID” — a major conflict according to Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), who discussed Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) ongoing nursing home scandal during an appearance on Breitbart News Saturday.
“The irony here is that this woman … she actually was appointed by the Biden administration to serve as an adviser for COVID,” Malliotakis said, telling Breitbart News Saturday that she issued a letter to the Biden administration this week highlighting the conflict.
“So that’s the other letter I issued yesterday to the Biden administration saying that, look, you can’t have somebody who you know admitted to knowing of a cover-up and possibly participated — most likely participated in that cover-up — advising your administration on COVID policy. You can’t have somebody who took part in that decision — to issue the executive order that led to 15,000 deaths in nursing homes — to advise your administration on COVID if you want to be taken seriously,” the New York lawmaker said.
Malliotakis walked listeners through the nursing home scandal continuing to rock the Cuomo administration, beginning with the Democrat governor’s March 25 executive order requiring nursing homes to accept coronavirus positive patients. She explained that the decision was linked to preserving hospital capacity and, as a result of those concerns, former President Trump sent the Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort. Other emergency hospitals, such as the Javits Center field hospital, were also constructed.
However, Malliotakis noted that these facilities were not fully used. The 1,000-bed USNS Comfort, for example, departed the city after one month, treating just 182 patients.
Despite the alternative options, the administration’s directive continued to force nursing homes to accept coronavirus-positive patients, exposing one of the most vulnerable populations to the virus.
“And we’ve been asking the questions. How many people have you put in these nursing homes that were positive, and how many people died in these nursing homes as a result? And he had not been forthcoming this entire time,” she said, noting that she called for a federal investigation in May. The Department of Justice, she said, initiated an inquiry months later.
“In October it was made public that they were investigating the Cuomo administration and now we’re learning … more and more about exactly what took place,” she said, mentioning New York Attorney General Letitia James’s report that found that the administration underreported deaths that occurred in nursing homes by an estimated 50 percent. She also cited the recent AP report that found that the administration also underreported the number of positive patients who were admitted in the nursing homes by 40 percent.
And this week, she continued, the public discovered that DeRosa admitted that the administration covered up the true figures “because they were afraid of prosecutors.”
“Thousands of individuals died, and now we’re learning that the number close to 15,000 who died in nursing homes,” she said, adding that they want the governor “to be held accountable” and have been urging the DOJ to continue the investigation.
“We don’t want any interference from the Biden administration. We want to make sure that it continues to be conducted independently. And you know, perhaps this leads to criminal prosecutions, but whatever it leads to, you know, we want to make sure that at least there are answers for these families that lost their loved ones, and we want justice to be served,” she said.
The Republican lawmaker said the March 25 directive “absolutely” caused more death and destruction in the pandemic than was necessary. At the time, she delivered supplies to nursing homes, which told her that “they felt, you know … they were forced to take individuals.”
“They didn’t have that opportunity to reject. And quite frankly, they didn’t have the PPE to care for them,” she said.
“The entire delegation, at least the Republican side, has reached out to the Department of Justice again asking them to look at this closely. As you mentioned, Democrats in the state — our Democrat attorney general is the one that dropped that bombshell saying that they underreported the numbers of death in nursing homes,” Malliotakis said, adding that other Democrats are “slowly coming out and doing the right thing.”
“But really, what we just want is accountability. We want answers,” she said.
Malliotakis added that she does share concern over the potential conflict of interest in the event that the DOJ assigns the case to the Southern District of New York, given that DeRosa’s mother-in-law serves as the U.S. attorney for the district.
Ultimately, Malliotakis said, people want to have faith in their government and seek to ensure that they are going to conduct an independent investigation that looks at the records, subpoenas the team, and discovers what led to the March 25 order in the first place.
“Those are the questions we have,” she said, promising that lawmakers are “going to keep the pressure up.”
“I don’t know that they [the Cuomo administration] can get away with just brushing it under the rug and ignoring it,” she added.
Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.