Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s ongoing nursing home scandal is not going away — in fact, things appear to be getting much worse for him.
In an exclusive report this week, the New York Post revealed that a top member of the Cuomo administration has admitted that the state government actively worked to cover up the actual number of nursing home residents who died of COVID-19. Melissa DeRosa, who serves as secretary to the governor, made the shocking proclamation during a private phone call she held with various Democratic state lawmakers.
“Basically, we froze”
During the conversation, she reportedly acknowledged that the Cuomo administration opted not to report the actual number of pandemic-related deaths to the Department of Justice under the Trump administration. Furthermore, she attempted to blame the decision on former President Donald Trump.
DeRosa told those on the call that Trump “starts tweeting that we killed everyone in nursing homes,” catching state leadership off guard.
“He starts going after [New Jersey Gov. Phil] Murphy, starts going after [California Gov. Gavin] Newsom, starts going after [Michigan Gov.] Gretchen Whitmer,” she said. “And basically, we froze.”
Attempting to explain the apparent coverup, DeRosa continued: “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.”
Her revelation follows a prior report recently released by New York Attorney General Letitia James, which showed that the Cuomo administration significantly underreported the number of coronavirus deaths that occurred among the state’s nursing home patients.
“We can address the state legislature”
As one example from mid-January showed, the state had only reported 8,711 such deaths when the actual number was 12,743.
The attorney general’s report also suggested that Cuomo’s coronavirus policy sent COVID-positive patients back to facilities across the state, likely facilitating the spread of the illness among the elderly population.
As a result, the governor is facing bipartisan opprobrium.
His administration recently released a statement on the matter, reportedly proclaiming: “We explained that the Trump administration was in the midst of a politically motivated effort to blame [Democratic] states for COVID deaths and that we were cooperating with Federal document productions and that was the priority and now that it is over we can address the state legislature. That said, we were working simultaneously to complete the audit of information they were asking for.”
Nevertheless, DeRosa indicated that it appears the Justice Department has “dropped” any potential efforts to investigate the Cuomo administration as a result of the ongoing scandal.