NEW YORK Governor Andrew Cuomo is in the firing line for withholding nursing home death figures in the throes of the pandemic.
Republican Elsie Stefanik said that the scandal was a “criminal abuse of power” on Cuomo’s part.
Andrew CuomoCredit: The Mega Agency
What is the nursing home scandal?
Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa made the admission to state Democratic leaders during a video conference call.
Melissa DeRosa is the Secretary to Governor Andrew CuomoCredit: © 2020 Pacific Press
She said the administration had allegedly rebuffed a legislative request for the statistics in August because “right around the same time (Donald Trump) turns this into a giant political football.”
According to the New York Post, who listened to the two hour recording of the call, DeRosa continued: “He starts tweeting that we killed everyone in nursing homes.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, flanked by Melissa DeRosa and state Budget Director Robert MujicaCredit: Getty Images – Getty
“He starts going after [New Jersey Gov. Phil] Murphy, starts going after [California Gov. Gavin] Newsom, starts going after [Michigan Gov.] Gretchen Whitmer.”
She told lawmakers that “basically, we froze” when Trump directed the Department of Justice to investigate the administration.
Governor Andrew Cuomo delivers remarks on the coronavirus diseaseCredit: Reuters
DeRosa added: “Because then we were in a position where we weren’t sure if what we were going to give to the Department of Justice, or what we give to you guys, what we start saying, was going to be used against us while we weren’t sure if there was going to be an investigation.
“That played a very large role into this.”
Republican Elsie Stefanik demanded that Cuomo be “prosecuted immediately” following the sensational revelation.
What has Cuomo said about it?
Cuomo has yet to speak out about the allegations or make comment on DeRosa’s claims.
However, following a damning report last month by Attorney General Letitia James, Cuomo appeared to say it didn’t matter where the deaths took place.
He said: “Who cares [if they] died in the hospital, died in a nursing home? They died.”
What is New York’s nursing home death toll from COVID-19?
More than 13,000 care home residents in New York State have died since the start of the pandemic.
And according to reports, that number jumps to 15,049 when fatalities of those living in assisted living or adult care facilities are factored in.
Politicians have called for Cuomo to be prosecuted for the nursing home scandalCredit: Governer Andrew M.Cuomo
According to the Post, Cuomo’s administration refused media requests about the total nursing home death toll and battled a Freedom of Information lawsuit filed by the Empire Center on Public Policy.
Instead, officials only gave the numbers of elderly people who died in care homes – missing out residents who were transferred to hospital.