NEW YORK (Dagbladet): When New York was the epicenter of the corona pandemic last spring, Cuomo was hailed as a leader internationally for acting clearly and openly. But in recent months, he has received massive criticism for trying to cover up how many died of corona in the state’s nursing home.
On Monday, he finally admitted that his office should not withhold data from state politicians and the public.
More than 15,000 people have died of covid-19 in nursing homes and similar institutions in New York. But as recently as January, Cuomo’s office claimed that the number was only 8,500, reports Reuters.
But Cuomo has not apologized for this to other politicians in the state assembly, who have tried to ask questions and criticize him. On the contrary, he should be beaten back hard.
Now a number of elected representatives in the state assembly from his own party are trying to revolt and deprive Cuomo of the powers he received early in the pandemic. This is happening at the same time as the FBI and the federal attorney general in New York’s eastern district have started an investigation into Cuomo’s handling, writes New York Times.
On Thursday last week, Cuomo is said to have called the democratic state politician Ron Kim on his mobile phone.
– Governor Cuomo called me directly on Thursday to threaten to ruin my career if I did not cover up for Melissa (DeRosa, Cuomo’s close adviser. Journ.anm.) And what she said. He tried to pressure me to send out a statement, and it was a very traumatic experience, Kim says to CNN.
Cuomo is said to have spoken loudly and been furious.
– He told me that we stand together in this, and that there are certain boundaries we do not cross, and he said that I had not seen his anger, and that he could destroy me, Kim says.
Kim gives the same description New York Times.
The uncle died
Cuomo’s adviser, Melissa DeRosa, denies that the governor threatened to destroy Kim. She was the one who last week contributed to the information the deaths came to the surface. In a meeting with other elected officials in the state assembly, DeRosa said the state had delayed sharing all the numbers for fear of a possible federal investigation by Donald Trump’s Justice Department.
Kim is a progressive politician who represents Queens. He has also been one of the loudest critics of how Cuomo handled the threat of infection against nursing homes in the state, and he is among the elected representatives who now want to take from Cuomo the pandemic powers.
Kim also says that his own uncle died in a nursing home from coronary heart disease last year.
– No man has ever spoken to me like this in my whole life. At one point, he tried to humiliate me. He asked: Are you a lawyer? I did not think so. You’re not a lawyer. It felt in hindsight that he was trying to entice and excite me to say something inappropriate. “I’m glad I did not,” Kim told CNN.
Kim’s wife also tells the TV channel that she overheard parts of the phone call. She describes Cuomo as “loud” and “angry”.
– The governor threatened to ruin my life, Kim is said to have told my spouse after the conversation.
Over the weekend, the governor is said to have tried to reach Kim several times. The state politician has now hired a lawyer to handle the communication with the governor.
However, Cuomo’s spokesman Richard Azzopardi claims that Cuomo only called to ask Kim to clarify his comments. He also insists that Cuomo never said he would “destroy” Kim and describes the conversation as “calm”.
– Mr Kim is lying about the conversation with Governor Cuomo on Thursday night. I know this because I was one of three people in the room when the conversation took place. At no time did anyone threaten to “destroy” anyone with their “anger” or ask someone to participate in a cover-up operation, Azzopardi told the New York Times.