By: Benyamin Davidsons
Former New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo disregarded an invitation to testify at a congressional hearing regarding COVID-19 deaths in NYS nursing homes.
As reported by the NY Post, on Wednesday, Cuomo missed the hearing despite being publicly asked last week to appear by Republicans on the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis. The Republicans were hoping to question the former governor regarding his 2020 mandate which ordered nursing homes to accept patients recovering and still testing positive with the coronavirus. “We asked him to testify at this very hearing and he still to this day has not even responded,” tweeted Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), sharing the letter addressed to Cuomo asking him to appear. “He’s not participating,” Scalise said. “He didn’t even feel that he owed those victims a response to the questions we had for him.”
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) also spoke up. “Corrupt Andrew Cuomo failed to show up and answer our requests for transparency and accountability on behalf of the families who lost their loved ones due to his deadly nursing home order and criminal cover up,” the Republican said. He told The Post that if Republicans retake the House, following the upcoming November election, they are planning to utilize subpoena powers to further investigate Cuomo’s order and his administration’s admitted dire underestimate in death statistics. “He cannot hide from the truth. We know Cuomo and Gov. [Kathy] Hochul are to blame for the deaths of over 15,000 New Yorkers,” Stefanik added. “Subpoenas are coming in a Republican majority,” Stefanik declared.
Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi commented, insisting that the invitation must have been lost in the mail. “Scalise should learn to use [the] Postal Service because we never received the letter,” Azzopardi said. “It’s sad that these MAGA
Republicans continue to weaponize the pain of those who lost loved ones and picked up the baton of discredited Trump seditionist [and former Justice Department official] Jeffrey Clark who was charged with using DOJ to go after blue states on nursing home pandemic policy before being tasked with overturning an election,” the spokesman added.
Cuomo had resigned in August 2021 amid a sexual harassment scandal, as well as probes into his handling of nursing homes during the Coronavirus pandemic. In March 2020, his administration had set a governor’s order barring nursing homes from turning away patients “solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19”. The order was meant to relieve the hospitals of overcrowding, but critics and families of victims say it caused the virus to run rampant among the vulnerable residents. In a bombshell confession Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa had admitted that the administration made a conscious decision to hide the real number of nursing home deaths. In late 2020, the Justice Department investigated whether NYS violated the federal civil rights of nursing home patients by providing “grossly substandard care.”
The federal investigation was abandoned, however, when President Joe Biden took over, replacing former Republican President Donald Trump. Last year, NY Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, said the nursing home deaths were underestimated by about 50 percent, and amounted to almost one-third of the entire NYS nursing home population. There had been 8,711 deaths reported by the Cuomo administration, but over 13,000 nursing home deaths are now linked to the pandemic, as per the AG’s report.