The aide, Melissa DeRosa, sought to clarify her remarks. “I was explaining that when we received the DOJ inquiry, we needed to temporarily set aside the Legislature’s request to deal with the federal request first,” she said in a statement provided to CNN. “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.”
What DeRosa is arguing is that the Cuomo administration essentially put requests from the New York state legislature for more details on nursing home deaths on hold while they dealt with requests for similar information from the Department of Justice.
According to a source who participated in the call, “DeRosa said the administration essentially ‘froze’ because it wasn’t sure what information it was going to turn over to the DOJ, and didn’t want whatever was told the lawmakers in response to the state joint committee hearing inquiries to be used against it in any way.”
And that is a very different animal. Because the latter explanation suggests that the reason the Cuomo administration didn’t release the full details of deaths in nursing homes to state legislators is because they were concerned about how that data might be used against them, politically speaking, if it fell into the hands of the Trump administration.
Which is a very bad look — to say the least.
This is only the latest bit of evidence that suggests the Cuomo administration may not have dealt as effectively with the coronavirus pandemic as was initially believed.
While that won’t happen, there’s no question that the nursing home story just got worse for Cuomo. And that it now threatens what once looked like a cakewalk to a history-making fourth term next November.