The Fallout for New York Gov. Cuomo Over Nursing Home Deaths
Year, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's could press briefings won him a devoted following around the country. It also earned him an Emmy Award. But today the governor who normally uses his time to deliver data and talk about vaccination efforts. Took more than 20 minutes to publicly excoriated State Assembly member who's been critical of him if you attacked my integrity. And my administration's integrity. Am I going to fail to respond? No. No. I'm not gonna do that. W My CI's Glen Hogan is here now to break it down a bit for us. Gwen, you listen to a lot of these press briefings. But today was well pretty strange, even by this year standards, right? Can you tell us what happened and who Governor Cuomo was going after here? That's right. So State Assembly member Ron Kim he is a Democratic lawmaker from Queens. His uncle died of covert 19 in a nursing home last spring, and today the governor accused him without evidence of a pay to play scheme regarding campaign donations from nails. Salon owners. Some of Kim's fellow state lawmakers quickly came to his defense and said quote was attack was clearly an effort to deflect further criticism of his own handling of nursing homes. No grand Kim has been a vocal critic of the governor for a while now, so so why would qualify ring this up now? Well. The governor's anger seems to have started last week after Kim smoke to the New York Post about a call between top Cuomo, Wade, Melissa Derosa and Democratic lawmakers. Now, in a partial transcript released by the governor following the post bombshell, it was revealed that the state withheld nursing or that she admitted that the state had withheld nursing home data to try to slow the potential federal probe into nursing homes. So after that story, Kim says he got an angry call from the governor himself, threatening to quote destroy him. And after that, the governor demanded that he retract his statements to the paper. He then says he got more texts and phone calls from the office here. He is describing the call. Was a 10 minute, one sided, screaming and yelling where I felt threatened that if I didn't act in a certain way to issue a statement, not tomorrow. Tonight, in his own words that there were a tradition. Cuomo's office sent out a statement vehemently denying he threatened. Kim, saying the office has a long hostile relationship with the Assemblyman Kim, like you mentioned has been critical of how the governor handled this four months, particularly his withholding of the true death toll inside nursing homes, and he's also criticized his controversial immunity provision, which was passed in the state budget last year. After big campaign donations from nursing home industries, and that provision basically shields nursing homes from liability for covert 19 deaths early on in the pandemic. Now, some context here. This public attack today on Kim also follows a letter that Kim and several other assembly members signed. Urging other lawmakers to support a bill that would repeal the governor's emergency powers. Can you give us some background on that, right? Right, so these powers they were granted by the legislator last year, the start of the pandemic. But now Kim and several other assembly members are trying to drum up legislative support to revoke these powers. So they sent out a letter yesterday to fellow lawmakers asking for their support, saying the governor had obstructed justice and withholding of nursing home deaths. And that not revoking the emergency powers makes the legislator complicity. Now, some experts who spoke with my colleague Chris Robin's earlier say, even if these emergency powers are revoked, the governor still has broad executive power because of the state's constitution, but also because of his, you know, ongoing state of emergency powers, but If they go through with this and revoke these emergency powers, it's definitely a symbolic political rebuke of the governor and his handling of the pandemic. Yeah, and just to remind listeners to. There's even more context here because all of this has unfolded in the two weeks since New York State attorney general a tissue James released the results of a probe that revealed the actual death toll of coded inside nursing House. Rate, So that kind of started this snowball effect in the last two weeks. She actually didn't have the total number of deaths, But the governor's office had for months and months been withholding that this number. It's the number of people who were in nursing homes but were later sent to hospitals where they died. In other words, the state had only been counting deaths that occurred inside nursing homes themselves. As an expert. I talked to said this New York was the only state in the country that was doing this. So it was only after this report came out that the state finally gave the full number of the deaths of people who had died in hospitals. There was also freedom of information, requests, a lawsuit and eventually a court order. Now that we have the full that led up to the full release of this data. So what We know now is that Cove it killed more than 15,000, New Yorkers who were residents of nursing homes and other long term care facilities, And that number includes nearly 6000 deaths that were not previously counted in nursing home deaths.