Gov. Cuomo's Secretary Admits They Feared Investigation
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s secretary and top aide, Melissa DeRosa admitted that the governor’s administration initial report of the COVID-19 death toll from nursing homes was not complete because of fears that the true count of patients who died would “be used against us,” she said in a video conference call with state Democratic leaders.
In an attempt to underplay critiques of Gov. Cuomo’s March 25 directive to send nursing home patients who were recovering and still contagious with COVID-19 from hospitals back into their nursing homes, the governor’s administration first reported the nursing home death toll as 8,711, although the true number was later revealed to be 13,000.
In the recording that was obtained by and reported by the New York Post, DeRosa blames former President Donald Trump for the administration’s dishonest count of people who died in nursing homes.
“Right around the same time, [that the legislature requested the numbers in August, then-President Donald Trump] turns this into a giant political football,” DeRosa said. “[Trump] starts tweeting that we killed everyone in nursing homes,” said DeRosa, who added Trump “direct[ed] the Department of Justice to do an investigation into us.”
“And basically, we froze,” DeRosa told the lawmakers as she described the administration’s fear of an investigation by the Department of Justice.
Today, DeRosa released a statement that explained that the Gov. Cuomo’s administration temporarily shelved the New York Legislature’s request for an accurate count of nursing home deaths because it the governor had also received an inquiry from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)
“We informed the houses of this at the time,” DeRosa wrote. “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.
“As I said on a call with legislators, we could not fulfill their request as quickly as anyone would have liked. But we are committed to being better partners going forward as we share the same goal of keeping New Yorkers as healthy as possible during the pandemic."
(Darren McGee- Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)