This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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At one time, just last year, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was a media darling, hailed as an example of how the coronavirus pandemic should be handled by those in the government.
But that was before people started questioning how he handled the elderly in his state, and why he would place those infected with the virus into nursing homes where other vulnerable elderly people were.
And this week it was inadvertently revealed by one of his top aides that the governor’s office intentionally hide the statistics on nursing home infections and deaths from the legislature bringing scorn from his fellow Democrats, and calls for the governor to resign or be impeached, from Republicans, Politico reported.
New York Republicans assailed Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration on Thursday night in response to new revelations about his stonewalling the release of information about nursing home deaths, with several calling for him to resign or be impeached.
The New York Post reported that top gubernatorial staffer Melissa DeRosa told Democratic state legislators in a meeting on Wednesday that the administration “froze” when asked to release data about the number of nursing home residents who had died of Covid-19. A March directive from Cuomo calling on nursing homes to admit patients who tested positive for the coronavirus has been blamed for contributing to high death rates.
DeRosa said the administration resisted the release of data because of former President Donald Trump’s attempts to turn the tragedy “into a giant political football,” according to the Post.
“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” she said.
But by Friday she was attempting to explain what she said to the state’s Democrat lawmakers.
“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. We informed the houses of this at the time,” the aide said. “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.”
That came as top Democrat legislators were seeking to remove the governor’s emergency powers.
“While COVID-19 has tested the limits of our people and state — and, early during the pandemic, required the government to restructure decision making to render rapid, necessary public health judgments — it is clear that the expanded emergency powers granted to the Governor are no longer appropriate,” 14 Democrat legislators said.
And Republicans seized on the information to call for the governor to resign or be impeached.
“For over six months, day after day, in briefing after briefing, Governor Cuomo stood before New Yorkers and lied about his directive that contributed to the deaths of thousands of seniors,” Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said. “In the coming days he will cynically try to convince us that it was for our own good — that it was someone else’s fault. This is another lie. What is true, is Andrew Cuomo has proved himself unworthy of our trust, and unfit for public office.”
“Prosecution and impeachment discussions must begin right away,” GOP Chair Nick Langworthy said. “If the Governor is involved, he should be immediately removed from office,” said state Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt. And Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) called for other members of Congress to call for “an independent and thorough investigation by the Biden Department of Justice into Governor Cuomo and New York State.”