New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s political troubles intensified Friday, as he faced the fallout from the latest bombshell in the widening nursing home scandal that has engulfed his administration: an admission from one of his top lieutenants that his office withheld information from the New York legislature because they were afraid that former President Donald Trump would tweet negatively about the governor’s efforts if the information became public.
The admission, which was first reported by the New York Post, consisted of an admission from top lieutenant Melissa DeRosa, who said in a video call with Democratic leaders in New York that the Cuomo administration ignored requests for information from the legislature because, “[R]ight around the same time, [Trump] turns this into a giant political football. He starts tweeting that we killed everyone in nursing homes.. And basically, we froze.”
The Cuomo administration released a partial transcript of the video conference on Friday, and many New York Democrats offered prompt condemnation of Cuomo’s actions.
Perhaps most alarming for the Cuomo administration, 14 New York Democrats (so far) signed on to a petition calling for Cuomo’s emergency pandemic powers to be revoked.
The petition states that “it is clear that the expanded emergency powers granted to the Governor are no longer appropriate,” and calls on the Senate to repeal them as expeditiously as possible, even before they are set to automatically expire on April 30th.
Cuomo’s leadership during the early stages of the pandemic was originally a source of pride for national Democrats, who often favorably contrasted Cuomo’s decisions and tactics with former President Donald Trump. He was frequently invited as a guest on national news programs and was hailed as a model of leadership, which ultimately led him to author a book about his handling of the pandemic.
However, as the breadth of Cuomo’s mishandling of the nursing home crisis in his home state has come under increasing scrutiny, many Democrats have turned sour on Cuomo. Even liberal progressive network CNN, which allowed Cuomo to field softball interviews with his brother, anchor Chris Cuomo in spite of widespread criticism from media watchdogs about the obvious conflict of interests this posed, has begun to acknowledge that Cuomo’s handling of the coronavirus crisis was not as praiseworthy as they originally believed.