Cuomo aide defends comments amid mounting criticism over New York's handling of COVID in nursing homes

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  texan1211  •  3 weeks ago  •  6 comments

By:   Denis Slattery (MSN)

Cuomo aide defends comments amid mounting criticism over New York's handling of COVID in nursing homes
The governor and state officials are facing mounting pressure Friday amid accusations that the administration obfuscated the true toll of the deadly virus in New York's elder care facilities.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



Cuomo aide defends comments amid mounting criticism over New York's handling of COVID in nursing homes

ALBANY — Gov. Cuomo's top aide is defending comments made to lawmakers this week as criticism over the state's handling of nursing home deaths during the COVID pandemic has morphed into calls for accountability and even criminal probes.

The governor and state officials are facing mounting pressure Friday amid accusations that the administration obfuscated the true toll of the deadly virus in New York's elder care facilities.

Cuomo's top aide, Melissa DeRosa, told Democratic members of the Legislature this week that the state was slow to respond to inquiries from state lawmakers and unable to make a full accounting of nursing home deaths public due to pressures of the pandemic and a "politically-motivated" federal probe started by the Trump administration.

"I was explaining that when we received the DOJ inquiry, we needed to temporarily set aside the Legislature's request to deal with the federal request first," DeRosa said in a statement. "We informed the houses of this at the time. We were comprehensive and transparent in our responses to the DOJ, and then had to immediately focus our resources on the second wave and vaccine rollout.

"As I said on a call with legislators, we could not fulfill their request as quickly as anyone would have liked. But we are committed to being better partners going forward as we share the same goal of keeping New Yorkers as healthy as possible during the pandemic," she added.

On Wednesday, DeRosa told Democrats from the Senate and Assembly that "basically, we froze," after the Department of Justice asked for information on nursing home deaths, according to a transcript of the call.

Last summer, the DOJ asked for information about nursing home deaths from New York and three other Democratic governors.

DeRosa told state lawmakers that complying with that request and fear that former President Trump would politicize the state's response prevented officials from responding to questions posed by the Legislature around the same time.

Her comments have led to accusations of a cover-up, a flurry of calls for accountability from both sides of the aisle and even prompted some Republicans to say that the governor should resign or be prosecuted.

"Governor Cuomo, the Secretary to the Governor, and his senior team must be prosecuted immediately - both by the Attorney General of New York State and the U.S. Department of Justice," Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) wrote in a statement. "This bombshell admission of a coverup and the remarks by the Secretary to the Governor indicating intent to obstruct any federal investigation is a stunning and criminal abuse of power."

Cuomo officials contend that information about deaths at nursing home and long-term care facilities during the height of the COVID crisis has been difficult to compile and were already under pressure for only releasing data regarding deaths that occurred in residences.

That changed last month in the wake of a report from Attorney General James that accused the Cuomo administration of under-counting elder care facility deaths by as much as 50%.

In response, Health Commissioner Howard Zucker provided a full tally of deaths that included seniors who died after being transferred to hospitals. The update increased the nursing home death toll from just under 9,000 to nearly 13,000.

Updated numbers released this week in a letter Zucker sent to lawmakers reveal that more than 15,000 nursing home and long term care residents likely died due to COVID-19.

Reporters, lawmakers and good government groups sought the full tally for months.

A growing number of Democrats and Republicans have called for Cuomo's emergency pandemic powers to be rescinded in recent weeks, including Mayor de Blasio.

But criticisms have reached a fever pitch in light of DeRosa's comments, with officials from both parties calling for accountability.

"Andrew Cuomo has abused his power and destroyed the trust placed in the office of governor," said New York GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy. "Prosecution and impeachment discussions must begin right away."

State Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt (R-Lockport) called on the Department of Justice and Attorney General James to "investigate Gov. Cuomo, his administration from top to bottom."

Some Albany Democrats said that anger is also growing with their legislative ranks and that the idea of impeachment has been broached by some in the governor's party as well.

"I know many of my colleagues and I have expressed our disdain and condemnation of how this situation has been handled every step of the way and this can not go unaddressed," said Sen. Jessica Ramos (D-Queens). "We need to utilize our leverage to hold (Cuomo) accountable and fight for justice for these families."

Both Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) issued statements early Friday indicating that they are not satisfied with the Cuomo administration's response.

"Crucial information should never be withheld from entities that are empowered to pursue oversight," Stewart-Cousins said. "This was always about getting the truth and allowing information to guide our response.

"Politics should not be part of this tragic pandemic and our responses to it must be led by policy, not politics," she added.

Heastie, meanwhile, appeared to confirm DeRosa's claim that Legislative leaders were made aware that the delay in responding to state lawmakers was due to the federal probe.

"The Governor's office communicated to staff that they needed more time to provide the information," Heastie spokesman Mike Whyland said. "Other than what was reported in the news, the Speaker had no knowledge of an official Department of Justice inquiry."


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Texan1211
PhD Principal
1  seeder  Texan1211    3 weeks ago

Seems like Cuomo's halo has been severely tarnished!

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Participates
2  Sean Treacy    3 weeks ago

That Cuomo was hailed as hero by the MSM for months  is all you need to know about how corrupt and biased it is. 

 
 
 
Texan1211
PhD Principal
2.1  seeder  Texan1211  replied to  Sean Treacy @2    3 weeks ago

I am wondering when his fangirls and fanboys here will rush to his defense!

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Participates
2.1.1  Sean Treacy  replied to  Texan1211 @2.1    3 weeks ago
m wondering when his fangirls and fanboys here will rush to his defense!

The Cuomosexuals are going to real quiet and flush their cheerleading down the memory hole. 

 
 
 
dennis smith
Senior Silent
2.1.2  dennis smith  replied to  Texan1211 @2.1    3 weeks ago

They wont now that they know the truth about their governor

 
 
 
gooseisgone
Senior Quiet
2.2  gooseisgone  replied to  Sean Treacy @2    3 weeks ago

The MSM wants to blame Trump for 400,000 deaths, Cuomo actually caused deaths in New York, then lied about it.

 
 
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