Former New York Gov. George Pataki (R) has floated the idea of New York creating a legal mechanism for the state to recall New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) after the Cuomo administration admitted to withholding data on coronavirus deaths in nursing homes due to concerns of a federal investigation.
“I think it would be appropriate to take a hard look at that,” Pataki told the New York Post when asked about the idea. “I only think it should be used in extraordinary cases but when you really have lost confidence in the leadership in your state, I think the opportunity should exist for the majority of the people to say we want something different.”
In 2002, Pataki launched an effort to amend New York’s constitution to create a recall process, however, then-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D), who is serving a 6 1/2-year prison sentence for federal bribery charges, killed the effort.
On Thursday, secretary to the governor Melissa DeRosa privately apologized to Democrat lawmakers for hiding the nursing home data, admitting that officials “froze” due to concerns that the figures could “be used against us” in a federal probe.
DeRosa reportedly claimed that then-President Donald Trump “direct[ed] the Department of Justice to do an investigation into us.”
“And basically, we froze,” she is said to have told lawmakers.
The story was first reported by the Post.
Under fire over his management of the coronavirus’s lethal path through New York’s nursing homes, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday the state didn’t cover up deaths but should have moved faster to release some information sought by lawmakers, the public, and the press.
“All the deaths in the nursing homes and hospitals were always fully, publicly, and accurately reported,” the Democratic governor said, weeks after the state was forced to acknowledge that its count of nursing home deaths excluded thousands of residents who perished after being taken to hospitals. He explained the matter Monday as a difference of “categorization,” with the state counting where deaths occurred and others seeking total deaths of nursing home residents, regardless of the location.
“We should have done a better job of providing as much information as we could as quickly as we could,” he said at a virtual news conference. “No excuses: I accept responsibility for that.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.