New York governor Andrew Cuomo ‘has got to go’ over his administration’s cover-up of nursing home deaths in New York, a congressman has said, as state lawmakers described the ‘bullying and screaming phone calls’ he used to enforce his will in Albany.
Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin told Fox News host Sean Hannity that Cuomo was a ‘bully’ who was ‘filled with revenge and spit and backstabbing’ as he called on him to be impeached by the state assembly.
It came as more details emerged of the governor’s cut-throat tactics, with New York representatives telling Politico of angry phone calls late into the evening which would leave them unable to get off the phone.
In one call last week, Cuomo allegedly threatened to ‘destroy’ Democratic State Assemblyman Ron Kim as he accused him of lying to the media over his remarks on the state’s nursing home scandal.
Alec Baldwin used Twitter to weigh into the feud early Thursday, writing: ‘If Cuomo threatened Ron Kim’s career, Cuomo should resign.’
Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin (right) told Fox News host Sean Hannity that Andrew Cuomo was a ‘bully’ who was ‘filled with revenge and spit and backstabbing’ as he called on him to be impeached by the state assembly
Cuomo during a press conference Friday where he attempted to defend his handling of COVID in nursing homes
Gov. Cuomo’s nursing home strategy directly caused 1,000 COVID-19 deaths, says watchdog
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s nursing home policy may have led to the deaths of 1,000 vulnerable people from COVID-19, according to a new study.
Cuomo and his administration are in increasingly hot water for allegedly hiding the amount of nursing home deaths early in the pandemic, and a study by the Empire Center for Public Policy validates the concerns around the numbers reported.
In the study, which was obtained by the New York Post, Cuomo’s original strategy that told nursing homes to take COVID-19 patients from the hospital is linked to ‘several hundred and possibly more than 1,000’ deaths.
The study said: ‘The findings contradict a central conclusion of the state Department of Health’s July 6 report on coronavirus in nursing homes, which said, among other things: ‘Admission policies were not a significant factor in nursing home fatalities,’ and ‘the data do not show a consistent relationship between admissions and increased mortality.”
There were reportedly 5,780 deaths in New York nursing homes from late March to early May. Cuomo’s directive could be tied to one in six of those deaths, according to the study by the nonprofit watchdog. The policy was in effect from March 25 to May 10.
Cuomo’s administration has been rocked by the confession of his top aide, Melissa DeRosa, that they deliberately hid the deaths of 4,000 nursing home residents from the official COVID toll in the midst of a Justice Department investigation into their handling of the pandemic.
Rep. Zeldin Friday added his voice to calls for Cuomo to be stripped of his emergency powers brought in to deal with the pandemic, which are due to expire on April.
He told Hannity: ‘The Republicans in the New York State Assembly are pushing for impeachment… It seems like there might be some Democratic support for that, we’ll see where that goes.
‘There are a lot of different components here as to why Governor Cuomo needs to go… I’m a proud New Yorker. If we want to save our state, Cuomo’s got to go.’
Cuomo is increasingly attracting heat even from fellow Democrats, with New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez c demanding a ‘full investigation’ into his handling of COVID in nursing homes.
Joining Zeldin on Hannity, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said: ‘You know you’re in trouble when you’re Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat governor of New York, and you got AOC [Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] and Alec Baldwin and members of your own party who smell the blood in the water and they’re coming after him.
‘His bullying has finally caught up with him and people are no longer pretending they’re afraid of him, and they’re speaking out. I think his time is limited. He may finish his term, but I think this is the last thing he’ll do politically.’
Cuomo has been heavily criticised for his tirade against Assembly member Ron Kim after he questioned his handling of the pandemic.
Kim said Cuomo threatened to ‘destroy’ him over a quote he had given to a media outlet in which he said the administration admitted it was withholding data about deaths in nursing homes because it was ‘trying to dodge having any incriminating evidence’ that might get it in trouble with the Justice Department.
In one call last week, Cuomo allegedly threatened to ‘destroy’ Democratic State Assemblyman Ron Kim as he accused him of lying to the media over his remarks on the state’s nursing home scandal. Alec Baldwin used Twitter to weigh into the feud early Thursday
Baldwin tweeted that Cuomo ‘should resign’ if he had threatened Kim’s career due to criticism he had made of his actions
‘I’ve only had a five-minute chat with him’: Infectious diseases expert denies Cuomo’s claim he was his ‘chief advisor’ amid cover-up
A top member of President Joe Biden’s COVID panel is distancing himself from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, denying Cuomo’s claim that he was a ‘chief advisor’.
Dr. Michael Osterholm, an infectious disease expert with the University of Minnesota, was the latest to distance himself from Cuomo as fallout grows from the governor’s nursing home deaths scandal.
Cuomo’s administration had claimed Osterholm was a ‘chief advisor’ who spoke with the governor on a ‘regular basis’ — claims the epidemiologist was quick to deny on Thursday.
‘I’ve had one, five-minute conversation in my entire life with Governor Cuomo, just a few weeks ago when he called me, just to congratulate me on a TV program appearance,’ Osterholm told the PBS program Firing Line.
The governor has been desperately trying to distance himself from the ongoing scandal, an on Friday appeared to blame nursing homes themselves by saying they should only have taken patients they could handle.
The governor’s defensive rant during his press briefing came shortly after AOC issued a statement calling for an investigation into his conduct.
The statement read: ‘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-1.
‘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.’
Cuomo has faced mounting challenges to his leadership on the pandemic as state lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans, threatened to strip him of the power to issue emergency orders and federal investigators scrutinized his administration’s handling of nursing home data.
During his press briefing, Cuomo spent about 15 minutes defiantly defending his administration’s response to nursing homes but did say he should have provided more public information on deaths ‘sooner’.
Cuomo, whose administration had been accused by some of covering up COVID deaths in nursing homes, flashed up a side during his press briefing on Friday that said: ‘No one has a right to spread lies or misinformation that causes pain to the families’
What are Cuomo’s emergency powers and how could they be rescinded?
In March 2020, the New York State Legislature granted Cuomo emergency powers to address the coronavirus pandemic.
This effectively allows the governor to change any local or state law with the stroke of a pen.
He has issued 94 such executive orders including including limiting gatherings in public and private spaces closing or reopening businesses, mask mandates and expanding hospital capacity.
Cuomo has also issued orders indirectly related such as making a second wedding license available for free if the first one expired.
The executive powers are set to expire on April 30, but the New York State Legislature has the power to revoke these powers before the deadline with a simple majority in both houses.
There are 150 members in the Assembly so a simple majority would entail 76 members voting to rescind or 75 members and a tie-breaking casting vote by the Lieutenant Governor.
In the Senate, there are 63 members so they would need 32 Senators for a simple majority.
Cuomo said: ‘No one has a right to spread lies or misinformation that causes pain to the families’.
He went on to say that he ‘should have been more aggressive’ in fighting ‘lies’ and regrets not cracking down on what he described as misinformation.
He said he made a mistake in becoming ‘complacent’ about the misinformation, saying he dismissed it ‘as false agendas and partisan politics’.
‘I was not aggressive enough in knocking down the falsities. We were busy. We were doing our job. We’re trying to save lives. No excuses,’ he said.
‘I’m not going to allow people to lie to the people of New York without answering them.
‘I have very thick skin. I don’t really care what people say about me. I agreed to this nasty business because I believe I can do good things. I’m not going to let you lie to them.’
He went on to say there was a need to reform nursing homes in the state before another pandemic occurs, saying: ‘They were only supposed to take patients if they could’.
Health commissioner Howard Zucker insisted on Friday that the state made the right public health decision at the time regarding allowing nursing home patients in hospital to return to their facilities.
Zucker said based on what they now know, officials would have still made the same decision.
He said that of the 365 nursing homes that admitted patients from hospital between March 25 and May 10, 98 percent already had virus outbreaks.
Friday’s press conference sparked anger on Twitter, with people accusing him of ‘abusing’ the public forum for his own political agenda
Zucker added that there COVID deaths in 132 nursing homes that never took a coronavirus patient from hospital.
The Justice Department has been examining the governor’s COVID task force and trying to determine whether the state intentionally manipulated data regarding deaths in nursing homes, sources told The Associated Press.
For months, his administration had resisted requests from lawmakers and reporters to release a complete death toll for nursing home residents.
In recent weeks, the administration revealed that 15,000 long-term care residents have died, up from the 8,500 previously disclosed.