New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo spent a big chunk of Monday attempting to shift the blame — again — over the nursing home scandal. But not even his fellow Democrats are falling for it. Some of them are calling him a liar and pointing out his "BS" for blatantly trying to mislead New Yorkers.
What's the background?
Cuomo has been facing increased pressure about the scandal after the Associated Press revealed Thursday that thousands more coronavirus patients were sent to nursing homes than Cuomo had previously admitted.
The scandal of the admittance revelation was compounded by a New York Post report the same day that top Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa admitted to state Democratic leaders that Cuomo's office hid nursing home data to blunt pressure coming from the federal level and to avoid bad publicity they knew they would get if former President Donald Trump got ahold of the information.
During a news conference in Albany Monday, Cuomo blamed nursing home staff for spreading the virus and repeated his insistence that his policy of sending coronavirus patients to nursing homes was not responsible for the wave of nursing home deaths.
Cuomo also tried to explain away what his aide had admitted and the fact that his office did not share the nursing home data publicly with lawmakers. The governor blamed a U.S. Department of Justice
probe into his nursing home policy for delays in releasing the death tally, the Post noted. Cuomo claimed that his office had told state lawmakers about the probe and data delay.
Democrats call out Cuomo
New York Democratic legislators are not buying what he's selling.
Democratic state Assemblyman Ron Kim said "all of it is BS" and a cover-up, the Post reported.
"They could have given us the information back in May and June of last year. They chose not to," the lawmaker said, ignoring Cuomo's claim that the DOJ probe was the cause of the delay and instead pointing to DeRosa's admission that the governor's office hid the information over fears that "the information would be weaponized against them."
Another Democrat, state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, said on Twitter that Cuomo was not telling the truth when he claimed he had told the legislature about the DOJ probe causing a delay in sharing the data. According to the lawmaker, she had to read about the probe in the Post.
"No, @NYGovCuomo, you did not tell the entire Senate or Assembly that there was a DOJ investigation, as the reason why you didn't share the nursing home numbers," Biaggi wrote. "I found out about a DOJ investigation with the rest of NY'ers in the @nypost story Thursday night."
No, @NYGovCuomo , you did not tell the *entire* Senate or Assembly that there was a DOJ investigation, as the reaso… https://t.co/4XHtqfYZtn— Alessandra Biaggi (@Alessandra Biaggi)1613420429.0
Another Democratic lawmaker, Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou, said Cuomo was blatantly trying to mislead the public to cover up past lies.
"The legislature had no knowledge of a DOJ inquiry," Niou tweeted. "The legislature at a public hearing asked questions of the executive and of the health commissioner and then was lied to. The things said in this last press conference were frightening because for their blatant goal to mislead."
The legislature had no knowledge of a DOJ inquiry. The legislature at a public hearing asked questions of the execu… https://t.co/TYFZMiA61S— Yuh-Line Niou (@Yuh-Line Niou)1613421738.0
Democratic state Sen. Julia Salazar backed up Biaggi's and Niou's claims and called Cuomo's claims "a lie on top of a lie" in a Twitter thread Monday afternoon.
"The Governor keeps trying to evade responsibility for his misjudgment (an understatement) in concealing the number of nursing home deaths by claiming that he'd informed the legislature. But this contradicts the point of his administration's private call with legislators last week," she wrote in response to Cuomo's presser. "If the Governor had actually informed the legislature months ago that his office was withholding the data they had on total nursing home deaths, there would've been no need for them to have a call with a group of legislators last week to inform them of this for the first time."
"Governor can claim (as he's done) that they withheld the data bc they thought it would be used against them by the DOJ(!)," she continued. "But claiming they informed the legislature is a lie on top of a lie. If he'd been honest in the first place, he may have had one bad news cycle. But now?"
She went on to blast the governor for a string of false statements and a wild claim that defied the known nature of Albany to leak secrets.
If the Governor had actually informed the legislature months ago that his office was withholding the data they had… https://t.co/vrqKdywMQ8— Julia Salazar (@Julia Salazar)1613419937.0
Of the false statements that we’ve heard from the Governor today, the wildest one to me is that he expects us to be… https://t.co/QudGnpxaVh— Julia Salazar (@Julia Salazar)1613422814.0
State Sen. John Liu ripped Cuomo for misleading the public and "withholding information the the public deserves to know," the Post repotted.
Liu, along with more than a dozen other New York Democratic state senators, has joined Republicans to back a bill calling for Cuomo's emergency pandemic powers to be revoked.