“There’s momentum moving in the direction of removing his powers,” a source told CNN.
The source said there was support for the removal of Cuomo’s expanded powers before the aide’s comments were made public, but now, “it’s definitely going to happen.”
A bill is likely to be introduced this week in the state Legislature and voted on early next week. Democratic leaders in the Legislature have broad support from lawmakers to pass a bill when it is put to a vote.
DeRosa, secretary to Cuomo, told state lawmakers that the state had been concerned about a Department of Justice preliminary inquiry
into Covid-19 deaths in New York nursing homes, as well as attention from former President Donald Trump, who was tweeting about Cuomo and other Democratic governors’ handling of the nursing homes, according to the transcript, which was released Friday by the governor’s office.
“And basically, we froze, because then we were in a position where we weren’t sure if what we were going to give to the Department of Justice or what we give to you guys, what we start saying was going to be used against us while we weren’t sure if there was going to be an investigation,” DeRosa said on the call
A report released
in late January from state Attorney General Letitia James found the New York State Department of Health undercounted Covid-19 deaths among residents of nursing homes by about 50%.
Cuomo says inquiry is politically motivated
The revelations undermine Cuomo’s self-hyped reputation as a straight shooter, honed during daily press conferences last spring
as the novel coronavirus rampaged through New York. His communicative approach provided a clear contrast to Trump’s lies and false assurances
that the virus was under control and would disappear.
In a statement Friday
, DeRosa sought to further explain her admission on the call with lawmakers.
“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. We informed the houses of this at the time,” she said. “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.”
Cuomo has repeatedly sought to dismiss questions
about the data on nursing home deaths as a “political attack.”
“What I would say is everyone did the best they could. When I say the State Department of Health — as the report said — the State Department of Health followed federal guidance. So, if you think there was a mistake, then go talk to the federal government,” he said on January 29.
“It’s not about pointing fingers or blame. It’s that this became a political football right. Look, whether a person died in a hospital or died in a nursing home. It’s — People died. People died.”