Calls for the impeachment of Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo are growing. Even Democrat lawmakers seem to be turning their backs on the embattled governor. Cuomo continues to face scrutiny over his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic in his state, mainly related to his decisions concerning nursing homes and COVID-19. Democratic New York Rep. Antonio Delgado is demanding New York conduct a thorough investigation into the data on COVID-related nursing home deaths, stating that “politics should never come before people’s lives.”
Other state lawmakers, such as Democrat Rep. Ron Kim, are seeking to strip the governor’s emergency declaration powers after he lost his uncle in a NY nursing home. In a pinned tweet on his Twitter account, Kim tells the story of the failure of Cuomo’s policies and the lives they may have cost.
Cuomo’s administration is suspected of severely undercounting deaths in nursing homes last summer, as COVID-19 spread like wildfire in New York. During a virtual meeting, Melissa DeRosa, Cuomo’s top aide, admitted that the administration had withheld COVID nursing home numbers because of pressure from the Trump Administration and state lawmakers calling for transparency. According to CNN, she “apologized to Democratic lawmakers, saying the administration ‘froze’ when initially asked by state legislators back in August about the issue.”
DeRosa admitted Cuomo undercounted the deaths over the fear of a possible federal investigation. In a video call transcript, she accused former President Donald Trump of using the situation as a “giant political football.” DeRosa then apologized for any political harm the recent revelations could do to Democrats: “So, we do apologize. I do understand the position that you were put in. I know that it is not fair. It was not our intent to put you in that political position with the Republicans,”
Cuomo received criticism from the Trump Administration after a March 25 mandate barring nursing homes from readmitting residents “based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19,” the order states. Trump used his Twitter account, prior to being banned by CEO Jack Dorsey, to lash out at Cuomo about his failed COVID mandates stating, “11,000 people alone died in Nursing Homes because of his incompetence!”
NY State Attorney Letitia James released a report from the New York State Department of Health in January providing evidence that Cuomo had undercounted nursing home deaths by about 50%. DeRosa’s admission now removes any doubt as to the cause of the erroneous numbers and the motivation behind them. In a statement released by New York AG’s office, “many nursing home residents died from COVID-19 in hospitals after being transferred from their nursing homes, which is not reflected in DOH’s published total nursing home death data.” In fact, Cuomo failed to report almost 4,000 COVID deaths as nursing home deaths based on a technicality: the residents had died in hospitals shortly after being transferred from their nursing homes.
FOX News’ Janice Dean has been a vocal critic of Cuomo’s handling of nursing home residents amid the pandemic after losing her mother-in-law and father-in-law, both nursing home residents in New York, to COVID. Dean was enraged when Cuomo, after being asked about the recent AG report, nonchalantly said, “Who cares if they died in the nursing home or in the hospital? They died.” Dean’s response to Cuomo’s dismissive statement: “WE care, governor. Thousands of New Yorkers who lost their loved ones care.”
Cuomo has yet to address the admissions made by his secretary publicly. President Joe Biden has not commented on the controversy surrounding Cuomo while lavishing him with praise on his “leadership” throughout the pandemic. It is unclear if Biden will be making a statement about Cuomo, who is currently caught in a quagmire somewhere between Emmy recipient and subject of impeachment.