Democrats slam ‘mendacity’ Andrew Cuomo over COVID-19 nursing house scandal

Fellow Democratic legislators in New York weren’t shopping for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s clarification Monday as to why he refused for months to launch a real accounting of nursing house residents who died from the coronavirus.

Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens), whose uncle died from COVID-19, bluntly mentioned that “all of it’s BS” and a cover-up.

“They may have given us the knowledge again in Could and June of final yr. They selected to not,” Kim mentioned after listening to Cuomo was blaming the Division of Justice probe for delays in releasing the correct coronavirus loss of life tally of nursing house residents.

Cuomo cited an unique Aug. 26, 2020, story in The Submit that broke the information concerning the DOJ inquiry into his administration’s nursing house admission coverage and the undercounting of deaths, claiming Albany legislators ought to have identified concerning the probe based mostly on that report.

Kim mentioned lawmakers might have handed legal guidelines to tighten up accountability and legal responsibility in nursing properties to avoid wasting lives if they’d the knowledge sooner.

Kim additionally mentioned Cuomo’s feedback Monday don’t sq. with what prime aide Melissa DeRosa instructed him and different legislators throughout a non-public assembly final week, when she mentioned former President Donald Trump made the problem a “political soccer” and claimed that as an excuse for withholding the nursing house knowledge. The Submit first reported on her explosive remarks after acquiring an audio recording of the assembly.

“And principally, we froze,” DeRosa mentioned.

“She talked concerning the potential that the knowledge can be weaponized towards them. DeRosa must be accountable for what she mentioned,” Kim insisted.

“She implicated all of us within the cover-up.”

DeRosa on Friday issued a press release, mirroring what the governor mentioned Monday that the administration was coping with federal probers earlier than it might launch extra detailed nursing house knowledge to state legislators and the general public knowledge.

In the meantime, state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (D-Bronx) challenged Cuomo’s assertion that his workforce knowledgeable lawmakers that it might delay launch of nursing house fatality knowledge due to the federal probe.

“No, @NYGovCuomo , you didn’t inform the `total’ Senate or Meeting that there was a DOJ investigation, as the explanation why you didn’t share the nursing house numbers,” Biaggi mentioned in a tweet.

“I discovered a few DOJ investigation with the remainder of NY’ers within the @nypost story Thursday night time,” she mentioned.

State Sen. Julia Salazar (D-Brooklyn) claimed Cuomo was mendacity.

“If the Governor had really knowledgeable the legislature months in the past that his workplace was withholding the information they’d on complete nursing house deaths, there would’ve been no want for them to have a name with a gaggle of legislators final week to tell them of this for the primary time,” she tweeted.

“Governor can declare (as he’s finished) that they withheld the information bc they thought it might be used towards them by the DOJ(!). However claiming they knowledgeable the legislature is a lie on prime of a lie. If he’d been sincere within the first place, he might have had one unhealthy information cycle. However now?”

State Sen. John Liu (D-Queens) additionally mentioned the federal probe wasn’t an excuse for “months and months of delays” in “deceptive” or “withholding data that the general public deserves to know.”

He mentioned he’ll again laws curbing the governor’s emergency powers due to Cuomo’s fumbling of the nursing house challenge.

“The established order can’t stay. There must be a revocation of among the governor’s emergency powers,” Liu mentioned on the Fox Information Channel.

“For months and months we’ve been asking the chief department, the governor’s workplace for this data. It was data our constituents have been demanding from the state authorities.”

Liu mentioned he was notably disturbed by state Lawyer Basic Letitia James’ damning report on nursing properties launched final month that discovered that Cuomo’s Well being Division low-balled the COVID loss of life depend of residents by 50 p.c by excluding individuals who died in hospitals.

Hours after the report, Workforce Cuomo began to come back clear by releasing extra correct knowledge that elevated the COVID-19 nursing house loss of life tally by almost 4,000.

Senate GOP Minority Chief Robert Ortt (R-Niagara) mentioned Republicans have been by no means notified by Cuomo’s workplace concerning the DOJ probe and request for time to launch nursing house knowledge.

“Individuals need the reality and the one means that may be supplied is thru investigations by the Division of Justice and the Lawyer Basic,” Ortt mentioned.

A state decide on Feb. 3 dominated that Cuomo illegally withheld COVID-19 nursing house knowledge from the Empire Heart for Public Coverage and ordered its launch. The watchdog group filed a authorized request for the knowledge and was stonewalled for six months earlier than the decide ordered the administration to started releasing it.

The Empire Heart’s Invoice Hammond mentioned Cuomo’s hiding earlier than the DOJ probe to sit down on a real accounting of nursing house deaths doesn’t maintain water.

“Cuomo and his administration was combating launch of the information earlier than and after the DOJ probe. It’s not believable that they couldn’t cooperate with DOJ and supply data to legislators and the general public,” he mentioned.

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