Families in New York state who lost loved ones to the coronavirus in the state’s nursing homes deserve answers from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a top House Republican said Saturday night.
U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., the top GOP member of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, shared his observations during an appearance on Fox News’ “Watters’ World” with host Jesse Watters.
Watters prefaced the conversation by citing New York Department of Health figures showing that nearly 9,000 recovering coronavirus patients were sent to nursing homes by Cuomo and that more than 15,000 nursing home residents later died.
He also referred to a recent New York Post story that said a top Cuomo aide had told state lawmakers that the Cuomo administration tried to withhold data on nursing-home deaths because it feared a possible federal investigation.
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The aide, Melissa DeRosa, later claimed that the Cuomo administration was “comprehensive and transparent” in its answers to federal authorities.
Scalise also praised the Post’s reporting on the matter, describing it as “a devastating bombshell.”
“And frankly, the saddest part of it is,” Scalise said, “that thousands of people died who shouldn’t have died from Covid — going back to March when Governor Cuomo gave that deadly order mandating that Covid-positive patients from hospitals be sent back into nursing homes — even if the nursing home couldn’t take care of them.
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“That, by the way, went against federal CMS guidance that said not to do that,” he added. “CMS” refers to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
“Cuomo continued to try to hide this,” Scalise alleged. “I’m on a select subcommittee. We’ve been asking Governor Cuomo to give the data to us, to show us, be transparent with the facts, going back to June. And he’s very smugly said we don’t have to show it to you. Now you have his top aide saying, thinking that she’s only talking to a couple of Democrat senators in New York, saying, ‘Hey, we didn’t give the data because we were afraid it might be used against us in an investigation.‘
“We’ve been asking Governor Cuomo to give the data to us … going back to June. And he’s very smugly said we don’t have to show it to you.”
“That’s the very definition of obstruction of justice.”
“But the worst part is there’s thousands of families that are begging and pleading to get these answers,” Scalise continued, “and Governor Cuomo has just looked the other way and scoffed at them. And then called any of us who have demanded these answers every kind of name under the sun because he’s trying to cover up for his own failures.
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“Just be honest with these families,” Scalise said. “Janice Dean on Fox has been very vocal about this, trying to get the facts out. So many other families that I’ve heard from in New York that, they just want to know the answer. They lost a loved one. They weren’t even able to go and hug their loved one in the final days when they were dying from Covid who should have never died because they should have never been forced back into those nursing homes by Governor Cuomo.
Watters suggested that Cuomo may have been trying to “run out the clock,” doing whatever possible to stall an investigation during the Trump presidency – in hopes of friendlier treatment from the Biden administration.
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Scalise said lawmakers in Washington need to find out exactly what happened in New York.
“We’ve got to get to the bottom of this,” he said. “We’re not going to stop demanding answers. But look, the clock does not stop ticking because there were murders and deaths involved that should have never happened – maybe over 10,000, definitely in the thousands. Governor Cuomo ought to just be transparent. If he can’t be transparent he shouldn’t be in that position.”