Multiple calls for a criminal investigation into Governor Andrew Cuomo have arisen following a bombshell report in which one of his top aides admitted in a conference call to Democrat lawmakers that the administration hid information on COVID nursing home deaths from federal investigators.
In August, the Department of Justice announced that they had requested information from New York regarding pandemic-related orders that might have led to the deaths of thousands of seniors in nursing homes.
The New York Democrat consistently painted the investigation as politically motivated.
But a stunning confession from Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor, seems to indicate Cuomo’s administration knew the feds were going to find questionable, if not criminal activity.
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The New York Post first reported that DeRosa told leading Empire State Democrats that the administration feared the data could “be used against us” by the Justice Department.
After former President Trump directed “the Department of Justice to do an investigation into us,” the Cuomo aide said, “basically, we froze.”
“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,” DeRosa said.
— New York Post (@nypost) February 11, 2021
Background on the Scandal
Governor Andrew Cuomo’s nursing home scandal, covered on these pages for months, began to finally unravel in the media two weeks ago.
The New York Times reported that attorney general Letitia James, a Democrat, accused Cuomo and his administration, particularly officials at the State Health Department, of undercounting COVID deaths at nursing homes by as much as 50%.
State officials had originally given a figure of about 8,677.
James’ report meant that number is actually closer to over 13,000 people who died as a result of the pandemic infiltrating nursing homes.
WWNY News reports that number was actually well over 15,000 seniors who died in nursing homes due to Cuomo’s executive order.
The number of NYers in nursing homes who have died of COVID now exceeds 15,000.https://t.co/q1iDk2MFif
— 7News (@7NewsWatertown) February 11, 2021
Governor Cuomo famously issued an executive order in March forcing nursing homes to take on patients that had tested positive for coronavirus.
The order prohibited facilities from requiring incoming patients “to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or readmission,” and may have contributed to the well over 15,000 deaths in New York.
Cuomo refused to reverse the directive for over six weeks while senior citizens succumbed to the virus.
The governor himself denied he ever issued the executive order.
— Janice Dean (@JaniceDean) October 14, 2020
Complicating matters were obvious signs that the Cuomo administration was stonewalling actual data related to the nursing home deaths associated with COVID.
The CDC unfortunately made it optional for nursing homes to report COVID deaths in March, April and early May, when NY’s pandemic was at its worst.
— Bill Hammond (@NYHammond) September 8, 2020
In the 76-page report released by Attorney General James, the New York Times notes that “a survey of nursing homes found consistent discrepancies between deaths reported to the attorney general’s investigators and those officially released by the Health Department.”
One facility had almost four times as many deaths than were reported.
“In one instance, an unnamed facility reported 11 confirmed and presumed deaths to the Health Department as happening on-site through early August,” the Times writes.
“The attorney general’s survey of that same facility, however, found 40 deaths, including 27 at the home and 13 in hospitals.”
Your mistakes cost us the lives of our family members, @NYGovCuomo. But rest assured, we, the People will be strong in our fight for answers and accountability. And the more you try to silence us, the louder our voices will become. https://t.co/4d7PyCFCkr
— Janice Dean (@JaniceDean) January 4, 2021
Cuomo recently claimed it didn’t matter that people died in a nursing home in-part because of his own directive.
“Who cares [if they] died in the hospital, died in a nursing home? They died,” he said.
It’s hard to imagine President Biden was seriously considering Andrew Cuomo as his Attorney General until recently even as the information on his nursing home scandals was already readily available.
Cuomo’s Nursing Home Scandal Leads to Calls For Him to Resign, Criminal Prosecution
Perhaps the most startling aspect of the latest New York Post report is how the Democrat lawmakers reacted to DeRosa’s admission.
Well, that and the fact that DeRosa apologized for the administration’s behavior.
Not to the thousands of grieving families who lost their elderly parents or grandparents in nursing homes due to Cuomo’s actions, mind you.
But to their fellow Democrats for the whole nursing home scandal being politically inconvenient.
“So we do apologize,” DeRosa said. “I do understand the position that you were put in. I know that it is not fair. It was not our intention to put you in that political position with the Republicans.”
Look at what @melissadderosa‘s first apology is.
What she’s most remorseful for is how it hurt the Democrats politically.
— Rusty Weiss 🇺🇸 (@rustyweiss74) February 12, 2021
That said, Democrats weren’t having it, even in a conference call they had no idea would be picked up by the New York Post.
They’ll likely fall in line to protect Cuomo in the coming days, but at that moment, several Democrat lawmakers were pissed.
- Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan) responded, “I don’t have enough time today to explain all the reasons why I don’t give that any credit at all.”
- State Senate Aging Committee Chairwoman Rachel May (D-Syracuse) complained, “the biggest issue of all is feeling like I needed to defend — or at least not attack — an administration that was appearing to be covering something up.”
- Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens), who had an uncle pass away in a nursing home presumably due to COVID, told the Post it sounded “like they admitted that they were trying to dodge having any incriminating evidence that might put the administration or the [Health Department] in further trouble with the Department of Justice.”
I already have seen Democrats dumb enough to still believe that DeSantis is worse than Cuomo.
The data and evidence is quite clear: Cuomo is the worst politician in America on COVID, and only Trump would supercede him.
Furthermore, Cuomo appears to have purposefully lied. https://t.co/2eEeFIN19I
— Pradheep J. Shanker (@Neoavatara) February 12, 2021
The combination of damning evidence and a further damning admission from the Cuomo aide over this nursing home scandal has led to multiple calls for a criminal investigation and numerous resignations from the administration.
Republican New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik said the evidence points to a “stunning and criminal abuse of power.”
“I have said from the beginning that this is more than a nursing home scandal, this is a massive corruption and cover-up scandal at the highest level of New York State government,” she said in a statement.
— Elise Stefanik (@EliseStefanik) February 12, 2021
NYGOP Chairman Nick Langworthy called for an investigation and discussions into possible impeachment.
“The second most powerful person in state government and top aide to Governor Cuomo admitted on video to the premeditated and willful violation of state laws and what clearly amounts to federal obstruction of justice,” he said in a statement.
“Andrew Cuomo has abused his power and destroyed the trust placed in the office of governor. Prosecution and impeachment discussions must begin right away.”
Calls for Cuomo’s impeachment have been circulating since the summer.
Senator Rand Paul was one leading voice on the matter.
“I think Gov. Cuomo should be impeached … for the disastrous decision he made to send patients with coronavirus back to nursing homes,” Paul declared.
“Virtually half his people who died were in nursing homes,” he added.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) July 23, 2020
NY Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt, a Republican, also chimed in.
“Governor Cuomo and his administration must be investigated from top to bottom and he must be stripped of his emergency powers,” he said.
“Justice needs to be brought for the grieving families who have been ignored to protect Governor Cuomo and his Democrat allies in the Legislature.”
Jumaane Williams, the Democrat Public Advocate for New York City, also took aim at the New York Governor over his nursing home scandal.
“To continual defenders of @NYGovCuomo, how is this ok? How is it not #Trump like?,” he tweeted.
“And when FORCED into admission, the most you get is a sorry we got caught … and not even directly from him or to the families,” Williams added. “All while asking NYers to trust your decisions.”
In fact, calls for resignations, investigations, and/or criminal prosecutions were rampant.
Democrat Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou called the actions of the Cuomo administration “criminal.”
This is criminal.
Cuomo aide admits they hid nursing home data from feds https://t.co/T3OhohU0JJ
— Yuh-Line Niou (@yuhline) February 12, 2021
How many NYS Legislators will finally realize I’ve been right all along and join me in calling for @NYGovCuomo and most of his crime family of an administration to resign? Enough is enough.
— Steve McLaughlin (@SteveMcNY) February 12, 2021
The idea that Cuomo belongs anywhere other than prison is indefensible at this point, though it was true a long time ago when some of us were trying to explain it to you. Instead he’ll co-anchor his brother’s CNN slot, I’m sure. More discerning minds can decide if that’s the same
— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) February 12, 2021
Cuomo sent 9,000 infected patients into Nursing Homes, LTCs! Some that were not previous residents. Criminal!
— Terry (@IrishTea1) February 12, 2021
If Cuomo purposely hid nursing home data as his aide claims, it’s not just impeachable, it’s criminal.
— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) February 12, 2021
Andrew Cuomo belongs in prison.
— RBe (@RBPundit) February 12, 2021
Fox News meteorologist Janice Dean, one of the few voices to continually hound Governor Cuomo over the nursing home scandal for months on end, said “people should go to jail” over the cover-up.
“This is the biggest bombshell we have had so far,” said Dean, whose in-laws were victims of COVID-19, and in whom nursing homes in New York played a part last year.
“We had a trickling in of the numbers. We knew the numbers were much bigger than the governor was admitting,” she continued.
“Over 15,000 residents died from getting COVID in their nursing homes … and now the biggest bombshell coming from the New York Post that his secretary, Melissa DeRosa admitted that they covered it all up.”
Dean thanked whoever leaked the DeRosa conference call to the New York Post. Without it, a tacit admission of a crime and cover-up may have never seen the light.
“I would like to thank whoever that Democratic lawmaker that was the leak yesterday that gave us that information because I believe all of them should go to jail,” she said.