Status: 02/22/2021 7:35 p.m.
Governor Cuomo was celebrated for how exemplary he led New York through the Corona crisis. But he is said to have embellished death numbers and put critics under pressure. Resignation calls are loud.
From Antje Passenheim,
ARD-Studio New York
It doesn’t sound like a real admission of guilt when Andrew Cuomo appears before the press with a contrite expression. “I take responsibility,” he says. “We should have disclosed more information faster.”
ARD-Studio New York
New York’s governor has to face serious allegations: The corona hero, who was celebrated worldwide for how exemplary he led the metropolis through the dark corona epicenter, is said to have deliberately hushed up deaths.
For weeks he insisted: “All deaths in nursing homes and hospitals have always been reported completely and accurately.” 8,700 people died in New York’s old people’s and nursing homes with a corona infection. But it is now clear: the true number is twice as high; 15,000 people died in the facilities.
Internal adversaries intimidated?
New York prosecutor Letitia James is now investigating Cuomo. He looks for excuses: “The information gap that we have created has been filled with skepticism, cynicism and conspiracy theories. And they add to the confusion.”
Finally, Cuomo’s closest advisor, Melissa de Rosa, admitted that the office had withheld death tolls to prevent possible investigations. She told the New York Post that the Cuomo staff feared that then President Donald Trump would use the real numbers in his attacks on New York. To avoid this, Cuomo’s team only counted the fatalities in the statistics who died in the nursing homes – but not those who were admitted to a clinic before their death.
The Republican Senator in New York State, Robert Ortt, criticizes a trick not to stain Cuomo’s clean slate: the governor deliberately downplayed the death toll.
More and more Democrats are joining. Cuomo had “massaged the numbers,” said country senator Rachel May of the Washington Post. And the member of the state parliament Ron Kim said it openly: “Instead of naming the reasons why they wanted to cover up the death toll, he distracts. And he can do that best.”
Cuomo is obviously foaming with anger. He yelled at MP Kim over the phone, he says: “He threatened me that if I don’t comply, I have no future.”
Impeachment proceedings in conversation
The nursing home scandal has sparked a rebellion in Cuomo’s own ranks: New York’s Democrats are fed up with going it alone made possible by emergency powers following the Covid pandemic. They now want to withdraw this from Cuomo. The demands for his resignation are getting louder and louder.
Democratic Congressman Antonio Delgado not only called for “answers” but also for political consequences. There is even talk of impeachment proceedings like ex-President Trump.
Cuomo tries to appease: “Let’s keep emotions, politics and personal ego out of this. This is about the people and our job.”
But it is precisely the big ego that his critics accuse Cuomo. The friend of US President Joe Biden, who has already been traded as a possible candidate for the next presidential election, has overdone it for many. They say: the pandemic that made Cuomo a hero could now bring him down.
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