Cuomo in the Crosshairs: Senate Republicans Pressure Governor on State Nursing Home Deaths

Governor Cuomo is facing calls from state Republicans to relinquish emergency powers and resign from office after his Chief of Staff Melissa DeRosa admitted last Friday that the governor allegedly withheld information regarding the number of Covid-19 related deaths in state nursing homes during the height of the pandemic.

According to DeRosa, the Administration “froze” and subsequently under-reported Covid-19 deaths in nursing homes, pressured  by requests from the federal government and press for information. Cuomo’s aggrandizing spokesman, Rich Azzopardi, added to the backlash of public outcry when he claimed Cuomo’s office withheld data because former President Donald Trump was criticizing New York’s handling of the pandemic.

Cuomo, who has gained National attention with his overreaching daily news briefings, complete with Power-Point presentations and a lot of personal asides about his family members, was at one point considered a role model for his handling of the crisis. The Governor had gone so far as to publish a memoir about his time in office during the initial outbreak of Covid-19.

Now Cuomo is facing pressure not only from state Republicans, but his fellow Democrats over his alleged failure to accurately report deaths that occurred in nursing homes. Despite allegations from Republicans and the state legislature that his administration purposely withheld that vital data, the governor, Monday, said the state did nothing wrong.

“The state legislators are wrong,” said Cuomo. Both houses were told that we had the DOJ request and that we were going to give precedent to a DOJ request; they were both told. And yes, we gave the Department of Justice request precedence over the state legislators’ request.”

That explanation did not sit well with some New York Senators, Sue Serino (R, Hyde Park) remarking that Cuomo’s statement “only makes it more clear that we need an independent investigation now more than ever,”. There’s little doubt that even his Democratic allies in the Legislature are wishing that Cuomo “would just shut up, man,” in the words of President Joe Biden.

NYS Republican Chair Nick Langworthy is calling for an impeachment discussion immediately after it was made public that 6,000 additional nursing home deaths went unreported. Locally, Chairman Lawrence Garvey, Rockland County Republic Chairman, joined other Hudson Valley party members in blasting Sen. James Skoufis for failing to issue subpoenas to the Governor’s Office or Department of Health concerning the investigation he was supposed to be handling as Chair of the Senate Investigations Committee.   “Senator Skoufis owes the families of those that died, and the people of the state of New York, answers. Senator Skoufis’ failure to seek or provide those answers clearly establishes that he is unfit to Chair the Senate Investigations Committee,” reads a statement issued by senate republicans.