Progressive Democratic New York Assemblyman Ron Kim told CNN on Wednesday that Andrew Cuomo threatened to destroy him if he refused to help him cover up the nursing home deaths in New York State.
Over 15,000 nursing home patients died as a direct result of Cuomo’s order sending Covid positive patients into nursing homes with the most vulnerable people in the state.
Kim claimed he was at home bathing his kids when Cuomo called him on his cellphone and threatened political retribution against Kim unless he cooperated.
After Kim made his accusation, Cuomo claimed that there were no threats and that Kim was guilty of colluding with beauty salons in exchange for campaign contributions.
So far, neither side has produced any tangible proof of their accusations.
“Gov. Cuomo called me directly on Thursday to threaten my career if I did not cover up for Melissa [DeRosa] and what she said. He tried to pressure me to issue a statement, and it was a very traumatizing experience. We’re in this business together and we don’t cross certain lines and he said I hadn’t seen his wrath and that he can destroy me.”
“No man has ever spoken to me like that in my entire life. At some point he tried to humiliate me, asking: ‘Are you a lawyer? I didn’t think so. You’re not a lawyer.’ It almost felt like in retrospect he was trying to bait me and anger me and say something inappropriate. I’m glad I didn’t.”
DeRosa is Cuomo’s assistant that told top-ranking Democrats in a phone call that the Cuomo administration withheld the true numbers to keep the feds off their backs. That led to criticism from both sides of the aisle along with calls for Cuomo to resign.
“Kim’s wife told CNN that she had overheard parts of Kim’s phone call with Cuomo last week, and described the governor as ‘loud’ and ‘angry,’” CNN added. “She said she heard Cuomo say, ‘Who do you think you are?’ as well as the words, ‘my wrath,’ and that immediately after the phone call, her husband told her: ‘The governor threatened to destroy my life.’”
In a speech Monday, Cuomo refused to take responsibility for the situation, admitting that he should have been more forthright with the public, generally, during the height of the pandemic but refused to apologize for the apparent COVID-19 death undercount. Instead, he blamed a “toxic political environment” for the confusion over nursing home numbers.