Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis, R-N.Y., told “America’s Newsroom” on Tuesday that she believes either by “resignation, prosecution or next year at the ballot box,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “days are finished.”
She noted that “thousands of New Yorkers” have gone to her website to sign a petition calling for the resignation of the Democratic governor.
Cuomo has faced calls to resign since the Associated Press reported his administration had significantly underreported the number of recovering COVID-19 patients who were sent back to nursing homes to recover under a controversial order he implemented last March. The Associated Press found that nearly 15,000 long-term care patients died of COVID-19 at nursing homes, up from the roughly 8,500 deaths previously disclosed.
Criticism intensified after Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa admitted during a private call that the administration withheld data requested by New York State legislatures because they worried it could be “used against us” by the Justice Department under then-President Donald Trump.
On Tuesday, Malliotakis called Cuomo’s handling of nursing homes during the height of the pandemic “completely unacceptable.”
On Monday, Cuomo held a press conference where the embattled Democratic New York governor admitted that he should have moved sooner to release relevant data related to COVID-19 deaths at nursing homes amid mounting criticism of his administration’s handling of the scandal.
In his first press conference since reports surfaced that his office underreported or withheld critical information on nursing home deaths during the pandemic, Cuomo said all relevant information was “fully, publicly and accurately reported.” When asked if he felt the need to apologize, the New York governor said his team’s failure to publicly address concerns created a “void” that allowed the spread of “conspiracy theories.”
“We made a mistake in creating the void,” Cuomo said. “We made a mistake in creating the void when we didn’t provide information, it allowed press people, cynics, politicians to fill a void.”
New York State Democrats lashed out at Cuomo Monday following the press conference in which he made the disputed claim about his administration’s handling of requests for data on COVID-19-realted deaths at nursing homes.
The governor sought to clarify his team’s actions at the press conference, telling reporters that the Department of Justice and state legislatures submitted requests for data at the same time last summer. Cuomo said his team opted to prioritize the federal inquiry and informed state lawmakers their request for data would be “paused” in the meantime.
“We gave precedence to the DOJ. We told the assembly that, we told the Senate that and that’s what we did. We were also in the midst of managing a pandemic,” Cuomo said at the press conference.
Cuomo said any disconnect between his office and state lawmakers was the result of a “breakdown in communication between the staff and members of the legislature.” But several Democratic lawmakers, including New York State Sen. Jessica Ramos, denied that Cuomo’s office ever informed them of its decision.
Ramos is one of several state Democratic lawmakers who have called for Cuomo to be stripped of his emergency powers for his mishandling for the nursing home data.
New York State Sens. Alessandra Biaggi and Gustavo Rivera, both Democrats, also took aim at Cuomo’s remarks. Both lawmakers said they first learned of the DOJ’s probe into New York nursing home deaths in local newspapers, not from the governor’s office.
Representatives for New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Democrat, also pushed back on Cuomo’s claim.
Malliotakis said she thinks some “Democrats are upset” because she believes “quite frankly they covered for him.”
She noted that when she was a member of the state legislature in August 3 there was a bipartisan hearing with the commissioner of health.
“He stonewalled, came for just a little while and then left. Didn’t answer any of our questions,” Malliotakis said. “Then the August 26th letter came from the Department of Justice and he’s [Cuomo is] trying to use that as the reason why he has not given us any answers since the summer and that is just completely unacceptable.”
“So naturally these legislators are getting a lot of heat from their constituents who want to have answers,” she continued. “There are families that do deserve justice and I’ve called for him to resign.”
“I hope that they also join me in that effort,” Malliotakis went on to say.
A spokesperson for Ramos, Biaggi, Rivera and Heastie did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment on whether they will call for Cuomo to resign or for a response to Malliotakis’ statements.
Cuomo asserted that state legislatures were “wrong” to suggest they were never informed about the delay for their data request. The governor expressed regret over the delays in releasing data, admitting the requests “should have been prioritized.”
“The void we created misinformation and created more anxieties for the families of loved ones,” he said.
Cuomo has repeatedly denied that his office withheld or misrepresented data relating to nursing home deaths.
A spokesperson for Cuomo did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment on Tuesday.
Fox News’ Thomas Barrabi contributed to this report.