Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s aide on Friday attempted to clarify the recent remark she made during a conference call with legislators, saying the governor’s office had to “temporarily set aside” a request for data on nursing home deaths.
In a statement released by senior Cuomo adviser Rich Azzopardi, Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor, said that she was “explaining that when we received the [Department of Justice] inquiry, we needed to temporarily set aside the Legislature’s request to deal with the federal request first.”
She added, “We informed the houses of this at the time. We were comprehensive and transparent in our responses to the DOJ, and then had to immediately focus our resources on the second wave and vaccine rollout.
“As I said on a call with legislators, we could not fulfill their request as quickly as anyone would have liked. But we are committed to being better partners going forward as we share the same goal of keeping New Yorkers as healthy as possible during the pandemic.”
The New York Post reported on Thursday that DeRosa told Democrat lawmakers in the state that the Cuomo administration was afraid that the data on deaths in New York nursing homes would “be used against us,” by the Justice Department or by then-President Donald Trump.
She said that Trump started “tweeting that we killed everyone in nursing homes,” last August, which turned “this into a giant political football,” and then directed “the Department of Justice to do an investigation into us. And basically, we froze.”
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