GOP leaders: Blast reps who support Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo answers questions from reporters following a COVID-19 briefing in Buffalo on Thursday.

State Republican leaders Thursday asked New Yorkers to call and complain to representatives who continue to support Gov. Andrew Cuomo on the heels of new details about his administration overriding state health officials to conceal the total number of COVID-19 deaths in state congregate facilities.

State Republican Committee Chairman Nick Langworthy blasted the Democratic-led Legislature on Thursday and lawmakers who have not pressed Cuomo to step down in wake of a multitude of investigations, including a federal probe into the state’s counting and reporting of public COVID-19 death data.

“As his nursing home cover-up continues to unravel and the scandals pile up, so do Andrew Cuomo’s lies,” Langworthy said Thursday inside the Onondaga County Republican Committee Headquarters in East Syracuse. “He’s been lying to New Yorkers for well over a year.”

Langworthy asked New Yorkers to call lawmakers who continue to support or appear with Cuomo in the wake of multiple allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct and other

Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, D-Buffalo, spoke at Cuomo’s briefing Thursday at The Belle Center in Buffalo.

Assemblyman William B. Magnarelli, D-Syracuse, appeared at a briefing with Cuomo in Syracuse on Tuesday.

“I’m here to say shame on them,” Langworthy said, also criticizing Sen. Rachel May, D-Syracuse, for her comments last year that the controversy surrounding nursing home deaths was an anchor as she campaigned for re-election.

“Sen. May and Sen. Magnarelli are complicit in Cuomo’s corruption. Every single resident of their districts should be outraged by their inaction,” Langworthy said. “They follow him right over the cliff. They are a total embarrassment in the New York State Legislature. ... They are sending a message to every constituent that Andrew Cuomo is more important than they are.

“...We never gave up fighting for Cuomo’s victims — we never stopped fighting to uncover the truth about the deaths in New York’s nursing homes.”

Langworthy’s Thursday morning plea was inspired by a New York Times report released late Wednesday that revealed Cuomo’s aides repeatedly overruled state Health Department officials for at least five months last year and prevented the release of full nursing home death data.

State Attorney General Letitia James released a report in late January that concluded Cuomo’s administration reported an undercount of state coronavirus deaths in congregate facilities by up to 50%.

Gov. Cuomo defended his administration’s nursing home count as accurate during a briefing in Buffalo on Thursday.

“We wanted to make sure the number was accurate,” Cuomo said, citing an ongoing DOH audit of congregate facility deaths.

“You know what the lawyers say when the [U.S. Department of Justice] opens an investigation? Be careful,” the governor added. “Be careful what you say because it can be used against you. It was a political football.

“...Fact: COVID came here before anybody knew it was here; Fact: The federal government failed to deny the fact that it was here. Fact: The staff brought COVID into nursing homes unknowingly. Fact: There was spread which was asymptomatic spread, which the federal government said didn’t exist.”

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins called for the governor to resign in early March, and continues to maintain that position, she said April 20. Stewart-Cousins appeared and spoke at Cuomo’s briefing in Yonkers the following day.

The state Assembly Judiciary Committee continues to progress with an impeachment probe examining if the governor threatened his staff to unlawfully withhold or misrepresent COVID-19 congregate fatality data required by the state Legislature and government entities, allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct by at least nine women and questions about the structural integrity of the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement named for his father, Gov. Mario Cuomo.

The Assembly committee and Attorney General James, who is running a separate investigation into the aforementioned issues, is also investigating the governor’s use of taxpayer-funded resources to publish his pandemic memoir, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

The state’s total COVID-19 nursing home deaths have surpassed 15,500 people.

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