New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is now facing a call for his impeachment over his administration’s handling of nursing homes from a member of his own party.
In an op-ed published in Newsweek on Monday, New York Assemblyman Ron Kim (D) wrote, “By now, much of the world has seen New York’s Emmy-award winning governor and ‘COVID-19 hero’ Andrew Cuomo come under fire for New York’s growing nursing home scandal.”
“And then, to cover his tracks, the Governor may have obstructed justice by suppressing life and death data from the Department of Justice; his office underestimated the number of nursing home deaths by up to fifty percent,” he added.
New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) released a report last month that found Cuomo’s administration underreported the number of deaths in nursing homes by as much as 50%, as IJR reported.
Kim noted that Cuomo’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, told Democratic state lawmakers that officials withheld data on nursing home deaths.
He also claimed that Cuomo berated him during a private phone call and attempted to pressure him to release a statement denying that he heard DeRosa say state officials withheld data.
“The governor berated me, threatened my career, and demanded that I issue a fabricated statement. He wanted me to deny what I heard on the call. ‘Are you an honorable man?’ He yelled. ‘Who do you think you are?’ This, too, was an attempt to rope me into his scheme,” he wrote.
“There is a long pattern of abusive tactics that the governor deploys when the public gets too close to learning the truth: cast a net far and wide, compromise as many unwitting accomplices, threaten retribution, then berate you for having the temerity to stand up. I call this Cuomo’s Predatory Inclusion Syndrome. And I won’t be party to it.”
He added, “I witnessed a crime, and on top of that, 15,000 nursing home residents died under his watch. Restoring faith in government for those families is my top and only priority, not the governor’s PR image.”
Kim also claimed that Cuomo inserted a “corporate immunity” provision in the budget, and it “very possibly led to more deaths at for-profit nursing homes, and has made it impossible to hold those responsible accountable.”
“We cannot be numb to the fact that 15,000 people died in nursing homes under Governor Cuomo’s watch. If the corporate immunity was omitted from the budget, how many lives would have been saved? Ten percent? Twenty percent? That is 1,500 to 3,000 families who could be sitting across from a loved one at dinner tonight. That’s an entire 9/11 tragedy that we could have prevented.”
Finally, Kim said, “We must hold the governor accountable and restore the integrity of the Senate and Assembly as co-equal branches of government. We must put all options on the table, in order to get to the truth.”
“It is time to be brave, to hold him accountable, to investigate his cover-up of nursing home information. It is time to undo the bad policies that led to unnecessary deaths. And it is time to start the impeachment process,” he added.