Palmesano: Governor Is Passing The Buck

February 16, 2021

From Assemblyman Phil Palmesano:

“In a recent New York Post story, we all learned the details of a secret Democrat meeting between members of the governor’s administration and members of the Legislature. During the leaked call, the governor’s secretary, Melissa DeRosa, admits the administration “froze” when it came to releasing true nursing home numbers out of fear of prosecution from the United States Department of Justice. This lack of transparency is, frankly, unacceptable, no matter the excuse. Yesterday, the governor continued to pass the buck in his first public appearance since the New York Post story broke last week.

“After watching the governor’s press conference, one thing remains crystal clear. The need for a thorough, independent investigation and bipartisan hearings with subpoena power is justified and needed now, and more and more with each passing day.

“During his press conference, the governor continued to reiterate that his administration did nothing wrong while pointing blame and fault at others. He continues to claim that his March 25 directive ordering nursing homes to accept COVID-19 positive patients from hospitals did not cause any of the tragic deaths of 15,000 plus New Yorkers. It was all the fault of staff and visitors, according to the governor. He continues to say facts are important and declares he is providing those facts, whether through his self-controlled agency nursing home report this summer or through his actions and words.”

“There is nothing to investigate,” Cuomo said, when questioned by reporters.

“This statement reeks of hypocrisy,” said Palmesano. “Just because Gov. Cuomo declares something to be a fact, doesn’t make it so. If the governor truly believes he did nothing wrong and has nothing to hide by covering up important information and the true number of nursing home deaths while stonewalling the Legislature, the media, the public and thousands of families who lost loved ones during this nursing home tragedy, then he should welcome and fully participate in any investigation or hearings.

“It is critically important that our Democrat colleagues in the Assembly and Senate join us in immediately ending the governor’s emergency powers. Join us in calling for a special prosecutor at the US Department of Justice and state attorney general’s office to conduct thorough investigations into this tragedy. Join us in holding bipartisan hearings with subpoena power. If our Democrat colleagues fail to do otherwise, they will simply be complicit with the actions this administration has taken during this nursing home tragedy.

“These common-sense actions are long past due. Contrary to Gov. Cuomo’s assertion, these calls are not political and part of a conspiracy. In fact, it is about providing truth, answers, transparency and accountability to the families of more than 15,000 seniors who have lost their lives. They deserve these answers and the truth.

“As I have said before, it is imperative for us to have independent investigations and hearings with subpoena power so we can find out what happened and work together to ensure a tragedy like this never happens again.”