Republican State Senate Leader Rob Ortt is calling on Howard Zucker to resign his post as New York State’s Commissioner of Health, following revelations this morning that the Cuomo administration has undercounted COVID-related nursing home deaths by as much as 50%.
The scathing report from Attorney General Tish James has shaken Albany to the core — and it has political operatives speculating that Governor Andrew Cuomo will eventually be forced to resign, “not just for the atrocity itself, but for the cover-up.”
It’s unclear if Democrat leaders in the state legislature will conduct investigative hearings, though a slew of Republicans — who have little influence in either chamber — have called for a special prosecutor.
“For months, Governor Cuomo and his administration have refused to be transparent or take any responsibility for actions they have taken during this public health crisis — including the deadly March 25, 2020 order to send COVID-positive patients into nursing homes,” Ortt said in a statement this afternoon.
“By underreporting COVID deaths in nursing homes by as much as 50 percent, the Department of Health has betrayed the public trust. To repair that broken trust, I am calling on Health Commissioner Howard Zucker to resign,” he insists.
Ortt is also calling on Zucker to appear before the State Legislature to answer questions. Zucker has refused to do so for months.
Several Republican leaders are applauding the Attorney General for her independence. Among them is Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, who is widely presumed to be the party’s gubernatorial contender in 2022.
“Attorney General James and her office have acted independently and with conviction to finally expose the truth about Governor Cuomo’s disastrous nursing home policy. The Governor recently said ‘incompetent government kills people’ and we now finally know just how many in our nursing homes,” Molinaro wrote on social media.
“This is an important start, but we need the whole truth and an independent investigation into the policy and coverup must be pursued. The deception must end, the betrayal addressed and all those responsible held accountable for the excruciating pain caused by their dishonesty,” Molinaro explains.
Congressman Tom Reed is calling for accountability.
“Truth will find a way. The Attorney General’s report is damning but proves what we knew all along: Cuomo’s order killed seniors and then he covered it up. Now it’s time for accountability,” Reed says.