Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is calling for a “full investigation” of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration’s handling of nursing homes throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
Her statement: “I support our state’s return to co-equal governance and stand with our local officials calling for a full investigation of the Cuomo administration’s handling of nursing homes during COVID-19. Thousands of vulnerable New Yorkers lost their lives in nursing homes throughout the pandemic. Their loved ones and the public deserve answers and transparency from their elected leadership, and the Secretary to the Governor’s remarks warrant a full investigation,” the congresswoman said in a statement.
The story: Ocasio-Cortez’s appeal comes as state Democratic senators are set to vote next week on stripping Cuomo of his emergency powers during the pandemic, Fox News reported.
The U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York and the FBI have already opened investigations into the manner in which Cuomo’s administration handled the reporting of nursing home deaths.
Cuomo’s government came under fire after a report by Attorney General Letitia James issued in late January said investigators found nursing home deaths in the state are likely twice as high than reported. “COVID-19 resident deaths associated with nursing homes in New York state appear to be undercounted by DOH by approximately 50 percent,” she wrote.
Additionally, last week, Melissa DeRosa, a secretary for Cuomo, apologized to state Democrats during an online call for deliberately withholding the actual number of nursing home deaths caused by Covid-19. She said after then-President Trump called for a federal inquiry into the matter, they “basically, we froze” out of fear that the actual numbers would “be used against us” by prosecutors.
Over the past weeks, Cuomo’s administration revealed that 15,000 nursing home residents have died from Covid-related issues, nearly twice the 8,500 previously reported, according to NBC News.
Worth noting: This week, Democratic New York State Assemblyman Ron Kim said Cuomo threatened to “destroy” him “if I did not cover up” for DeRosa.
“Gov. Cuomo called me directly on Thursday to threaten my career if I did not cover up for Melissa [DeRosa] and what she said. He tried to pressure me to issue a statement, and it was a very traumatizing experience,” Kim said. Cuomo then told him that “we’re in this business together and we don’t cross certain lines and he said I hadn’t seen his wrath and that he can destroy me,” according to Kim.
“No man has ever spoken to me like that in my entire life,” Kim said of his phone call with Cuomo. “At some point he tried to humiliate me, asking: ‘Are you a lawyer? I didn’t think so. You’re not a lawyer.’ It almost felt like in retrospect he was trying to bait me and anger me and say something inappropriate. I’m glad I didn’t.”
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