On Wednesday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s replacement, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, hinted that she may release nursing home data related to the COVID-19 pandemic that was hidden by Cuomo and other Democrats.
Hochul gave her first press conference since Cuomo’s resignation on Wednesday and was asked about the nursing home scandal by one reporter. The data in question has not been released yet and it has to do with how Cuomo forced nursing homes to take in COVID-19 positive patients which led to many deaths.
“My administration will be fully transparent when I am governor,” Hochul responded. “I am not governor yet.”
The Daily Wire reports:
Cuomo’s nursing home policy resulted in thousands of deaths among those most vulnerable to COVID-19. Cuomo and his aides attempted to cover up the failure by altering a report to cut the number of deaths in half. Cuomo still faces investigations into the scandal, including how the report being altered related to Cuomo’s book about pandemic “leadership.”
Hochul’s response comes after it was reported that prior to resigning, Cuomo attempted to cut a deal with state legislators to avoid impeachment if he agreed to not run for a fourth term more than a year from now.
Hochul is clearly trying to distance herself as far as she can from Cuomo considering he was a scandal ridden politician.
“I’m going to stand right here at the end of my term, whenever it ends, no one will ever describe my administration as a toxic work environment,” Hochul said during Wednesday’s press conference, adding that she is going to purge anyone “who is named as doing anything unethical in the report” from her administration.
Hochul is in her seventh year as Cuomo’s deputy, but the two were not reputed to have a close relationship – a point she stressed repeatedly when taking questions from reporters in Albany. She also appeared to express frustration with Cuomo’s decision to delay his departure for two weeks from Tuesday. Still, Hochul said she has begun the work of putting together a senior staff and had been in contact with top New York officials, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, along with other regional governors.
“It’s not what I asked for,” Hochul said of the two-week hiatus. “However, I’m looking forward to a smooth transition, which (Cuomo) promised. He spoke to me about wanting to make sure that the transition to continuity is important.”
Hochul demurred on two points: whether she would consider pardoning Cuomo if he was convicted on any potential criminal charges, calling it “far too premature to even have those conversations,” and if she believed the impeachment process should continue.
“I’ve been in this business long enough to know that is not the purview of the New York state governor to dictate to the New York state Assembly or to the Judiciary Committee on what actions they should take next with respect to anything,” Hochul said, “particularly impeachment.”
The lieutenant governor was less circumspect when it came to questions about the makeup of her administration following years of complaints – many of them described in detail by the attorney general’s report – of a bitter and dysfunctional executive chamber.
“There will be turnover, there’ll be turnover,” Hochul said of the staff that currently occupies those offices.
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