FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 12, 2021
CONTACT: Peter Giunta, 347.621.8031
The following is a supplementary statement from Assemblymember Michael Reilly (R-Staten Island) regarding the Cuomo administration’s admission that senior officials actively conspired to cover-up the total number of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes…
“As we navigate the Cuomo administration’s web of lies, it is incredibly important to piece together an accurate timeline of how this played out so that New Yorkers can obtain a better understanding of how deep this cover-up goes.
Last summer, when State Legislators (mostly Republicans) began asking the Cuomo administration, including New York State Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, to be transparent about their reporting of COVID-19 data, we were met with roadblock after roadblock. It wasn’t until August that Assembly Democrats agreed to hold their first and only hearing on the wider issue of residential healthcare facilities. I remember that hearing — the Health Commissioner was given softball questions from Democrats and provided legislators with only an hour of his time.
We now know, thanks to the leaked recording reported on in the New York Post last night and the official transcript which the Cuomo administration released this morning, that, in August, the Cuomo administration was notified of an inquiry into the matter by the federal Department of Justice, which at the time fell under the Trump administration. It was at that time which senior officials within the Cuomo administration requested that the state’s inquiry be put on pause — however, this was not known to most New Yorkers because Albany Democrats in leadership kept it secret.
Melissa DeRosa, a top aide to Governor Andrew Cuomo and the individual now at the center of this scandal, told Democrats in their closed-door meeting on Wednesday that the Cuomo administration “froze” because they feared that the federal government would use the truth against them and accused both the Department of Justice and President Trump of playing politics.
According to DeRosa, they complied with the inquiry and provided the requested details to federal investigators, but that it had appeared that no further action would be taken — however, we have no idea what information was provided, nor do we know if it was even accurate. Did the Cuomo administration deceptively provide inaccurate data to federal investigators just as they did to New Yorkers?
Here’s another twist: In January, DeRosa was appointed to serve as a Senior Adviser on President Joe Biden’s transition team, specifically focusing on the government’s response to #COVID19. And today, Cuomo met with President Biden at the White House.
Unfortunately, this now raises the question of whether officials within the Biden administration were aware of the Cuomo administration’s conspiracy to cover-up the state’s nursing home death toll.
I believe that a criminal investigation, independent and wholly void of political influence from both the Cuomo administration and Biden administration, is the only logical way forward if we are to ever restore the people’s trust in our government. That said, all options must be on the table, including the impeachment of this Governor.
In the interim, Albany Democrats in leadership have the power to rescind Cuomo’s emergency powers by passing a concurrent resolution — they can do this as soon as today! It is time for the State Legislature to take the reigns back from the Governor and to return to being the check that it should be on the Executive.”