Former New York Gov. George Pataki believes Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s handling of the coronavirus in nursing homes requires an apology and investigation.
“Certainly an apology is in order and an investigation is in order to find out exactly what happened and how they engaged in this, I believe, illegal cover-up,” Pataki said on FOX Business’ “Mornings with Maria.”
He pointed to a leaked transcript of a call published by the New York Post last week in which a top Cuomo aide seemingly admitted his office withheld data out of a concern that it could be used in a federal investigation.
“[Cuomo’s] chief of staff apologized to Democratic politicians for inconveniencing them by covering up the number of nursing home deaths,” Pataki said. “They acknowledged the cover-up, but they've never apologized to the people who lost their loved ones or the people of New York who wanted to find out what was going on.”
Last week, the Associated Press reported that Cuomo’s administration significantly underreported nursing home deaths.
In a press conference last week, the governor said the delay in releasing data to state officials was because the Department of Justice and state legislatures submitted requests for data at the same time last summer and his team prioritized the federal inquiry. Cuomo expressed regret over the delays, admitting the requests "should have been prioritized."
“It's just another day, another excuse,” Pataki said.
Pataki said Cuomo has also changed his explanation for the number of deaths in nursing homes.
“So now it's the people who visited the nursing homes or the staff who worked in the nursing homes,” the former governor said. “It's not the 9,000 people with COVID who were released from hospitals into the nursing homes when the nursing homes were desperately saying, ‘We're not prepared, we can't deal with this, don't do this to us.’”
Pataki said the situation calls for a bipartisan investigation with subpoena power “to get to the bottom of exactly what happened here.”
“We need the truth,” he said.
Several state Democratic lawmakers have called for Cuomo to be stripped of his emergency powers for his mishandling of the nursing home data. Cuomo has repeatedly denied that his office withheld or misrepresented data relating to nursing home deaths.
FOX Business’ Thomas Barrabi contributed to this article.