Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he believes New York Assemblyman Ron Kim's account of an allegedly threatening phone call he received from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
De Blasio called Assemblyman Ron Kim's report of Cuomo's threatening phone call "classic" behavior from the Governor. "The bullying is nothing new," de Blasio said.
Kim, who represents the neighborhood of Queens in the New York State Assembly, said that he received a belligerent call from Governor Cuomo over the weekend. The governor is alleged to have threatened Kim's career if he did not help suppress the story about the nursing home deaths being underreported.
Kim allegedly received the phone call after it was revealed that the state of New York undercounted its coronavirus death toll in nursing homes by as much as 50 percent, and then covered up the fact that they did so over Governor Andrew Cuomo concerns that it would be used by then President Donald Trump to discredit his pandemic-fighting efforts.
Cuomo had issued a directive in March that stated that patients who had been removed from nursing homes for COVID treatment in hospitals be returned to those nursing homes when the treatment was complete, even if they were still able to spread the virus. This was a CDC directive as well, that several other states, including Pennsylvania, followed.
"Gov. Cuomo called me directly on Thursday to threaten my career if I did not cover up for Melissa [DeRosa] and what she said," Kim claimed. "He tried to pressure me to issue a statement, and it was a very traumatizing experience."
DeRosa, a top aide of Governor Cuomo's, had admitted that the state intentionally undercounted nursing home deaths under fears that they would "be used against us."
Kim has been accused of lying about the phone call.
Kim demanded answers in April on the real number of coronavirus deaths in nursing homes from the state government.
"One of our constituents and her daughter has reached out to me because she's been stuck in this nursing home without any ability to communicate with her," Kim said. "And she still can't get in and figure out what's going on with her mother."
"We discovered that there are possibly 30-60 people who might have passed away from the coronavirus at this nursing home," he continued. "We still don't have any answers from the state or the nursing director."
"There are many families, like my constituents here, who deserve answers," Kim declared.
While mainstream outlets had previously offered widespread praise of Cuomo for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, with the Governor even winning an Emmy for his pandemic update performances, Cuomo has since been subject to intense criticism from outlets across the political spectrum.
Cuomo's administration is now being investigated by the FBI and the DOJ in relation to the scandal.