New York Republicans Call for Cuomo Investigation, Resignation
Despite the news cycle being consumed by the second impeachment of former President Donald Trump, many New York Republicans were focused on the comments by the Governor's secretary, Melissa DeRosa.
Speaking to a group of Democrats, DeRosa was explaining why some 9,000 nursing home deaths weren't listed as such. "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 and what we start saying was going to be used against us and we weren't sure if there was going to be an investigation," she said.
"In the intervening period, the second wave happened," she said. "The vaccine rollout started and all of our attention shifted elsewhere."
On Friday, DeRosa attempted to walk back her comments claiming, "when we received the DOJ inquiry, we needed to temporarily set aside the Legislature’s request to deal with the federal request first," she said. "We were comprehensive and transparent in our responses to the DOJ, and then had to immediately focus our resources on the second wave and vaccine rollout,” she added.
Republicans wasted no time Friday morning responding to the secretary's bombshell admission. Several legislators appeared on their local radio and television morning shows around the state, including on WIBX's Keeler Show.
Senator Joe Griffo called for an immediate investigation into the Governor and his administration. “Additionally, it is absurd that Sen. Rachel May, Sen. James Skoufis and the other legislators who took part in the recent briefing where this shocking development came out, as evidenced by the meeting’s transcript, decided to keep this important information private,” Griffo said. “Shame on them for not saying anything publicly. Most unconscionable is the fact that Sen. May, who chairs the Senate’s Aging Committee that is responsible for the elderly who suffered the most from these policies where thousands of lives were lost, appeared to be more focused on her own political survival rather than lives that were lost. The families and loved ones of those who died in nursing homes deserve answers, justice must be served and lessons learned to avoid tragedies such as this from occurring in the future,” Griffo added.
Senator Griffo specifically called for the following actions:
• An immediate special session to rescind the expanded powers the Governor has accumulated during the coronavirus pandemic. Many of the decisions made by the administration have been arbitrary, contradictory and inconsistent. The Legislature is a co-equal branch of state government and needs to be involved in the governmental actions that have taken place as the state continues to confront COVID-19.
• A thorough and independent investigation by the U.S. Dept. of Justice, state Attorney General, legislative committees using subpoena power or, as Sen. Griffo has suggested, the creation of a four member, bipartisan commission of District Attorneys from across the state who will be selected by the majorities (2) and the minorities (2).
Senate GOP leader Robert Ortt also called for full investigation into nursing home deaths. During a press conference on Friday morning, he said there should be a complete investigation into "the governor and his administration. There should be prosecutions if warranted," he added.
"Your talking about someone’s loved one, someone’s parent, who raised them who died in a nursing home and they couldn’t say goodbye...makes this far more tragic. Then, when you find out there was a book written about what a great job we did, in spite of the loss of your loved ones, that's what makes people lose faith in government," Ort said.
Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (NY-21) who represents the North Country and a portion of Herkimer County, called the revelation "and abuse of power." Stefanik called for Governor Cuomo to be prosecuted for withholding information on nursing home deaths.
"Andrew Cuomo has been caught in a lie of dastardly dimension," said New York State Conservative Party Chairman Gerard Kassar. “It’s crystal clear that Governor Cuomo and his highest appointed official, Secretary DeRosa, along with New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker, among others, formed a clique within state government dedicated to burying the awful truth about preventable nursing home deaths. The pain they have caused families of the deceased, and the disgrace they have brought upon the State of New York through their scheme, is indefensible," said Kassar. “What’s more indefensible, still, is Governor Cuomo’s refusal to hold himself accountable for his actions. Like we said, an honorable governor would resign.”
LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions
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