by WorldTribune Staff, February 12, 2021
New York Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo has admitted that he hid the real number of coronavirus deaths in his state’s nursing homes to shield himself from federal investigation and political scrutiny, a report said.
A top aide for Cuomo “privately apologized” for the governor’s withholding of nursing home death toll numbers.
But the celebrity governor didn’t apologize to the public or to the families of those who died as a result of his policies. The apology went out instead to state Democrat lawmakers in a conference call.
Cuomo’s aide told the Democrats that “we froze” out of fear that the true numbers would “be used against us” by federal prosecutors, the New York Post reported on Feb. 11.
“The stunning admission of a coverup was made by secretary to the governor Melissa DeRosa during a video conference call with state Democratic leaders in which she said the Cuomo administration had rebuffed a legislative request for the tally in August because ‘right around the same time, [then-President Donald Trump] turns this into a giant political football,’ ” the Post noted, citing an audio recording of the two-hour-plus conference call.
“He starts tweeting that we killed everyone in nursing homes,” DeRosa said. “He starts going after [New Jersey Gov. Phil] Murphy, starts going after [California Gov. Gavin] Newsom, starts going after [Michigan Gov.] Gretchen Whitmer.”
In addition, DeRosa said, Trump “directs the Department of Justice to do an investigation into us. And basically, we froze. 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.”
DeRosa added: “That played a very large role into this.”
The Post notes that, after dropping the bombshell, “DeRosa asked for ‘a little bit of appreciation of the context’ and offered what appears to be the Cuomo administration’s first apology for its handling of nursing homes amid the pandemic. But instead of a mea culpa to the grieving family members of more than 13,000 dead seniors or the critics who say the Health Department spread COVID-19 in the care facilities with a March 25 state Health Department directive that nursing homes admit infected patients, DeRosa tried to make amends with the fellow Democrats for the political inconvenience it caused them.”
“So we do apologize,” DeRosa told her fellow Democrats. “I do understand the position that you were put in. I know that it is not fair. It was not our intention to put you in that political position with the Republicans.”
Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried immediately rejected DeRosa’s expression of remorse, according to the recording.
“I don’t have enough time today to explain all the reasons why I don’t give that any credit at all,” said Gottfried, one of the lawmakers who demanded the death-toll data in August.