New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio did not mince phrases Thursday morning when requested about allegations that Gov. Andrew Cuomo threatened a Queens assemblyman, saying he believed the costs “100 percent.”
Ron Kim says he was yelled at and threatened by Cuomo after criticizing his dealing with of COVID-19 deaths at nursing properties – which is now being regarded into by federal authorities.
“It’s a sad thing to say … but that’s classic Andrew Cuomo. A lot of people in New York state have received those phone calls. The bullying is nothing new. I believe Ron Kim and it’s very, very sad, no public servant no person who’s telling the truth should be treated that way. The threats, the belittling, the demand that someone change their statement right that moment … many many times I’ve heard that and I know a lot of other people in this state have heard that,” De Blasio mentioned in an MSNBC interview.
“It’s just the script, it’s exactly what a lot of us have heard before. It’s not a surprise, it’s sad. It’s not the way people should be treated,” De Blasio mentioned.
The Brooklyn U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI have now opened a preliminary investigation into the Cuomo administration’s dealing with of nursing home-related information, in keeping with senior officers conversant in the probe. Spokespeople for the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI declined to remark Wednesday evening.
De Blasio — whose frosty and sometimes antagonistic relationship with Cuomo is properly documented — mentioned the probe was obligatory.
“The notion that information was held back for political convenience instead of the blunt truth coming out so we could save lives? Something’s profoundly wrong there,” the mayor mentioned.
Assemblyman Ron Kim says the governor yelled at him and threatened to finish his career after the Queens Democrat accused the Cuomo administration of protecting up deaths at nursing properties. NBC New York’s Jonathan Dienst stories.
The investigation comes as Kim, like Cuomo a Democrat, accused the governor of obstruction and different wrongdoing after an AP report discovered his administration misrepresented the number of deaths in nursing homes by thousands. One of Cuomo’s high aides was additionally heard telling lawmakers that the administration took months to release data revealing how many people living at nursing homes died of COVID-19 as a result of officers “froze” over worries the knowledge was “going for use towards us” by former President Donald Trump’s Justice Department.
Now Kim says Cuomo is “trying to punish me” for talking out.
In a Zoom interview with NBC New York on Wednesday, Kim broke down and needed to finish the dialog after recounting how the livid governor known as him at house, when he was along with his spouse and children.
“He spent 10 minutes berating me, yelling at me, threatening me and my career, my livelihood,” Kim mentioned. The lawmaker mentioned that his spouse heard a lot of the interplay and was shocked and scared, saying she “didn’t sleep that night.”
The FBI and U.S. Attorney in Brooklyn have begun a preliminary investigation into the Cuomo administration’s dealing with of information on COVID-19 nursing house deaths. NBC New York’s Ray Villeda stories.
Kim says the governor’s crew might have disclosed the numbers months in the past, and with that information, believes coverage modifications might have probably helped save lives.
“I refuse to be a cover-up for him, and that’s why he’s coming after me and trying to punish me,” Kim mentioned, including he is simply attempting to do what he believes is the correct factor. “They admitted to covering up information about life and death.”
He is considered one of many now in Albany, from either side of the political aisle, accusing the administration of a cover-up, saying it was carried out to “protect (Cuomo’s) politics, his political future.”
Under hearth over his administration of the coronavirus’ deadly path by New York’s nursing properties, Gov. Andrew Cuomo insisted Monday the state didn’t cover up deaths. NBC New York’s Jonathan Dienst stories.
A senior aide to the governor mentioned that he was within the room when the decision was made and alleged that “Mr. Kim is lying about the conversation” and that “at no time did anyone threaten to ‘destroy’ anyone with their ‘wrath’ nor engage in a ‘coverup.’ That’s beyond the pale.”
During a name with reporters, Cuomo equally went after Kim.
“I said to him on the phone, ‘There is still integrity and honor and decency in politics,’” the governor mentioned.
Cuomo addressed the dialog the 2 had, saying there’s previous unhealthy blood between the 2 politicians from Queens. Cuomo mentioned it stems from a previous unrelated subject during which he accused Kim of switching sides on nail salon security so as to elevate marketing campaign money from the salons.
“I believe it was unethical, if not illegal, and I believe it’s a continuing racket,” the governor mentioned.
Senior Cuomo Aide Rich Azzopardi mentioned the assemblyman’s feedback are “part of a years-long pattern of lies…against this administration.”
Kim brushed apart that take, saying it exhibits “a lack of leadership” to carry up the nail salon debate “when 15,000 have lost their loved ones in nursing homes.”
In a press release later launched by Kim, he alleged that Cuomo “surreptitiously slipped legal immunity into our state budget for hospital executives and for-profit nursing homes at the request of powerful lobbyists” who had beforehand donated to his marketing campaign. He additionally slammed the administration’s frequent response that they have been getting the knowledge to the feds as shortly as doable.
“As legislators we have a duty to uncover the truth behind the nursing home deaths and the governor’s explanations do not add up,” Kim’ assertion learn. “While he claims he was taking time to answer the Justice Department, we saw him gallivant around on a book tour and victory lap across prime time cable shows.”
On Wednesday, Cuomo once more tried to placate households who lost family members, saying his failure to supply nursing house information sooner was a mistake — noting that it was “not illegal, not unethical. But just failed people in that moment.”
Families are nonetheless not shopping for that clarification from the governor.
“Governor Cuomo turned nursing homes into COVID death chambers,” mentioned Tracey Alvino, who lost her 76-year-old father Daniel after he was in a Long Island nursing house for simply 11 days to get well from an orthopedic operation when COVID hit. She mentioned Cuomo must answer households’ considerations.
“His feet need to be held to the fire, we need an independent at the state and federal level,” mentioned Alvino.
Some Republicans on the nationwide stage, together with Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, have additionally known as for an investigation into the governor’s dealing with of nursing properties.
Gov. Cuomo admitted to at least one mistake along with his dealing with of nursing properties throughout the pandemic, however solely referring to the variety of deaths that have been reported. Families of those that lost their lives say it isn’t sufficient. NBC New York’s Jonathan Dienst stories.
“As we publicly said, DOJ has been looking into this for months. We have been cooperating with them and we will continue to,” mentioned Rick Azzopardi, senior adviser to Cuomo.
Last month, state Attorney General Letitia James launched a damning report that mentioned the state Health Department underreported the COVID-19 demise toll at nursing properties by as a lot as 50 %.
And final week, DeRosa, Cuomo’s high aide, mentioned that the state held off on releasing the fuller demise depend in August due to fears that Trump would use the knowledge towards Cuomo.
On Monday, the governor acknowledged that “things should have been done differently” and insisted that “lessons were learned.”
“In retrospect, should we have given more priority to fulfilling information requests? In my opinion, yes. And that’s what created the void,” Cuomo mentioned. “I just want to make sure people know these are the facts: Everything that could have been done was done.”
Democratic and Republican lawmakers in New York are actually reported to be reconsidering their determination to grant Cuomo emergency powers to cope with the COVID-19 disaster.
New York was hit exhausting within the early days of the pandemic, and till not too long ago the state led the nation in COVID-19 deaths. It had recorded 47,301 as of Wednesday, second solely to California’s 47,670 deaths, in keeping with the newest NBC News information.
Most of New York’s deaths got here within the early days of the pandemic, when public well being officers have been attempting to determine how the coronavirus was spreading.