MIL-OSI USA: Congressman Lawler and New York Members Hold Former Governor Andrew Cuomo Accountable for his Disastrous Handling of COVID-19 in New York Nursing Homes

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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Mike Lawler (R, NY-17)

Yesterday, Representative Mike Lawler (NY-17) held a press conference with House Oversight Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic Chairman Brad Wenstrup (OH-02) alongside New York Representatives Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Anthony D’Esposito (NY-04), Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11), Claudia Tenney (NY-24), Marc Molinaro (NY-19), Brandon Williams (NY-22), and Nick Langworthy (NY-23) reacting to Andrew Cuomo’s deposition to the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic on his disastrous handling of COVID-19 in New York nursing homes.

“All of us from New York know full well Andrew Cuomo is a phony and a fraud,” said Congressman Lawler. “He put our most vulnerable population at risk, resulting in the death of over 15,000 seniors. And it was Andrew Cuomo who covered it up. It wasn’t just the directive, which was bad enough and idiotic and resulted in the death of the 15,000 seniors. It was Andrew Cuomo, for political purposes, who directed the state government to cover up the death toll.”

“It was Andrew Cuomo who had a blood money book deal making millions of dollars for himself at the expense of New Yorkers, who misused and abused New York state government resources to write his book despite his nonsensical lies today before the committee that he wrote the book himself. We all know what happened. We all know what Andrew Cuomo did,” Congressman Lawler concluded. “He’s a liar. He’s a fraud. And there’s a reason he’s a disgraced ex-Governor. His conduct is unbecoming, and despite his best efforts to clean up his image and potentially try to run for office again, the reality is there’s a greater likelihood of the Tappan Zee Bridge being renamed than Andrew Cuomo ever holding office in New York again.”

“Today was a long, eventful, and informative day with Governor Cuomo, concerning primarily, but not only, the nursing home situation in New York that led to so many thousands of deaths,” said Chairman Wenstrup. “The Governor was defensive throughout most of the day, often putting the blame on other people rather than himself. He didn’t seem to be taking a lot of responsibility for what happened.”

“Often when he spoke about the number of deaths that took place, they were just numbers,” Chairman Wenstrup continued. “It is mind blowing to me that the Governor, who was later to rescind or amend the directive that went out about putting COVID patients or untested patients back into nursing homes, was the one who put the executive order out to amend it but when it came to the executive order itself he had no idea where it came from. I don’t know where the buck stops.”

“This day has been a long time coming,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “Each of our offices have heard from constituents who have lost loved ones resulting from Andrew Cuomo’s fatal directive issued on March 25th regarding our nursing homes, forcing nursing homes to take positive COVID patients. But today’s deposition was a step to delivering accountability and delivering long overdue answers to those families who are still mourning the loss of their loved ones.”

“Today as New Yorkers, was a critical day for accountability,” said Congressman Langworthy. “Upwards of 15,000 families never got the appropriate opportunity to say goodbye to a loved one as they perished in a nursing home. They weren’t allowed to say goodbye, because an overzealous Governor, drunk with power, changed the law so they could no longer communicate with their loved one in their last hour. The March 24th executive order defied any logic why you would bring COVID-positive patients back into an environment where the Governor himself once said ‘it would run through there like a flame through dry grass.’ He lacked empathy. He lacked apology. And he lacked accountability.”

“As a member of the Select Subcommittee, for the last four years we have been trying to get answers from Governor Cuomo about what occurred, what was the information they based their decision on,” said Congresswoman Malliotakis. “To hear the Governor stonewalling for four years and then come before the committee to tell us that he did not know that this directive existed, that he did not authorize it, that his Department of Health Commissioner did not authorize it, that somehow it just popped up from an unknown staff member at the DOH, that’s very, very difficult for anyone with common sense to believe.”

“In spite of the fact that other options were available to Governor Cuomo – all of these options to keep the citizens, especially seniors and vulnerable people, out of harms way were not used by Governor Cuomo, because he’s an arrogant, corrupt, uncaring person,” said Congresswoman Tenney. “This is a real tragedy and these people deserve justice.”

“The issues that we’re talking about and the decisions that Andrew Cuomo made shouldn’t be looked at politically,” said Congressman D’Esposito. “The people who died, their families are looking for answers because the decisions he made were inhumane. It’s not about being a Republican or Democrat. It’s about being a New Yorker. Andrew Cuomo has spent his career pointing fingers at others, placing the blame on others – not just this decision with regards to the nursing homes and COVID-19, but a bunch of his career. We see it now as this City and this State are unravelling over his decisions over cashless bail and criminal justice reform, he points the fingers at others. Thanks to the Select Committee, today was an opportunity to point the finger at Andrew Cuomo.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic was an unprecedented crisis and with that, Governor Cuomo took unprecedented power and claimed unprecedented power, and with that power he did unprecedented and unnecessary harm,” said Congressman Williams. “Even worse than the incompetence is the indifference. To all the families that suffer today and that suffered through that because of these terrible decisions, I hope that you find solace that we’re demanding answers, that we’re shining light in places where Governor Cuomo has taken unprecedented steps to cover up, to dodge, to weave, and to hide. Those days are over and we’re bringing accountability as the people of New York should expect from their government.”

“Andrew Cuomo knew that Health Department order was issued, he knew that Health Department order was altered, the Albany Times Union reporting today clearly that it was the Governor’s administration that amended that Department of Health order to make it clear that nursing homes could not reject and could not decline admission of individuals with COVID. He then went further in his press conferences to threaten nursing homes, saying to them that they had no choice,” said Congressman Marc Molinaro. “This isn’t about blaming Andrew Cuomo. This is about demanding accountability for people who lost loved ones.”

Congressman Lawler is one of the most bipartisan members of the 118th Congress and represents New York’s 17th Congressional District, which is just north of New York City and contains all or parts of Rockland, Putnam, Dutchess, and Westchester Counties.

The full footage from yesterday’s remarks can be viewed here.