THE DAILY REFORMER (NEW YORK, UNITED STATES)
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D)’s approval rating appears to be taking a hit as news that state officials withheld data on the number of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes has led lawmakers to call for the revocation of his emergency powers and even his impeachment.
A new Morning Consult poll released on Monday found that 57% of respondents say they approve of the governor’s job performance, which is six points lower than it was earlier this month.
Eighty-one percent of Democrats say they approve of his job performance. However, the number of Democrats who say they strongly approve of his job performance has dropped nine points since it was reported that his top aide told Democratic lawmakers that officials intentionally withheld data on COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes.
Cuomo’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, told state lawmakers during a phone call that administration officials did not share data on the number of deaths from the coronavirus in nursing homes with them because they were afraid about the prospect of a federal investigation.
“And basically, we froze,” DeRosa said. “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.”
However, she later tried to clarify comments as 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.”
“As I said on a call with legislators, we could not fulfill their request as quickly as anyone would have liked. But we are committed to being better partners going forward as we share the same goal of keeping New Yorkers as healthy as possible during the pandemic,” she added.
Shortly after DeRosa’s comments were made public, it appeared that the news was not influencing residents’ views of the governor. However, that seems to have changed as the coverage has persisted.
DeRosa’s revelation has sparked a backlash even among Democratic state lawmakers who have called for the legislature to revoke his “expanded emergency powers” that were granted to him in the early days of the pandemic.
Cuomo has claimed that the controversy has been fueled by people spreading lies which he says he did not “fight back” against enough.
“Those false statements must be countered. They must be or else people get confused. No one has a right to spread lies or misinformation that causes pain to families,” he said, adding, “I understand politics is a nasty business in this environment. I understand people lie. I get it, I get it, I live it every day, but this is different.”
Additionally, the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s office in Brooklyn have reportedly opened an investigation into “the work of some of the senior members of the governor’s task force.”
The Morning Consult polls surveyed 3,203 registered voters in New York from Feb. 12 to Feb. 21.
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