New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) is now calling for a full investigation into New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and his administration’s reported decision to hide the true number of coronavirus-related deaths in the state’s nursing homes at the height of the pandemic.
According to the Washington Examiner, the mayor’s comments came during a radio interview Friday.
“It’s very troubling,” de Blasio said, according to the Examiner. “We’ve got to know more. We now need a full accounting of what happened.”
He went on: “Think about seniors, who, their lives were in the balance and their families, you know, [were] just desperate to get them the help they needed. We need to know exactly what happened here. We need to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.”
“We weren’t sure”
De Blasio’s comments came in the wake of a report from the New York Post that revealed that Melissa DeRosa, Cuomo’s top aide, had admitted to state lawmakers on a call that the administration covered up the real numbers.
DeRosa blamed former President Donald Trump for the decision, saying the governor’s office feared retaliation in the form of a federal probe.
“He starts going after [New Jersey Gov. Phil] Murphy, starts going after [California Gov. Gavin] Newsom, starts going after [Michigan Gov.] Gretchen Whitmer,” DeRosa said, according to the Post. “And basically, we froze.”
She went on to claim that “we were in a position where we weren’t sure if what we were going to give to the Department of Justice, or what we give you guys, what we start saying, was going to be used against us while we weren’t sure if there was going to be an investigation.”
A previous report released by New York Attorney General Letitia James indicated that the Cuomo administration initially underreported the number of deaths in nursing homes brought on by COVID-19 by as much as 50%.
“A politically motivated effort”
Since the Post released its report, there have been calls for Cuomo to resign, be impeached, and face investigation, including the latest from the de Blasio.
In the meantime, the governor has done his best to deflect — but only time will tell if his political career can survive this ever-growing scandal.
“We explained that the Trump administration was in the midst of a politically motivated effort to blame [Democratic] states for COVID deaths and that we were cooperating with federal document productions and that was the priority and now that it is over we can address the state legislature,” a spokesperson for Cuomo said, according to the Post. “That said, we were working simultaneously to complete the audit of information they were asking for.”