The New York Post reported on Thursday that Melissa DeRosa, top aide to New York’s lethally incompetent Gov. Andrew Cuomo, admitted that her team withheld the number of COVID-19 deaths in state nursing homes to shield the Cuomo government from federal investigation and political scrutiny.
In a recorded call with state Democrat lawmakers, DeRosa said Cuomo’s team feared a federal investigation after President Trump highlighted the number of coronavirus-related deaths in New York nursing homes. Cuomo’s government tried to suppress the statistics against requests for such information from the state’s government and citizens’ organizations.
“They had to first make sure that the state was protected against federal investigation.” Queens Assemblyman Ron Kim told the Post. He said DeRosa’s remarks sounded “like they admitted that they were trying to dodge having any incriminating evidence that might put the administration or the [Health Department] in further trouble with the Department of Justice. That’s how I understand their reasoning of why they were unable to share, in real time, the data.”
“So we do apologize. 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,” DeRosa told Democrat leaders.
Cuomo, who dismissed criticisms of his COVID-19 nursing home policies as a “conspiracy” and blamed former President Trump for mishandling the pandemic, actually wrote a book called American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic, to bolster his chances of making a future run for the presidency.
But Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) has called for an obstruction of justice investigation into Cuomo and New York’s executive branch, and the Associated Press speculates that Cuomo’s underreporting of the deaths may have dealt “a potential blow to his image as a pandemic hero.”