Ex-New York Gov Andrew Cuomo to face House GOP committee over COVID nursing home deaths

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Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is paying a visit to Capitol Hill on Tuesday for a closed-door transcribed interview with the House select subcommittee investigating the coronavirus pandemic.

Cuomo’s handling of the pandemic as governor has been a significant focus of the panel’s – in particular, a March 25, 2020, executive order by the then-governor that restricted nursing homes from refusing to admit or readmit residents “solely based on confirmed or suspect[ed] diagnosis of COVID-19.”

“We want to uncover the circumstances that led to this. There has to be some kind of process where this was written up and he signed it. And we want to make sure that something like this is never repeated,” subcommittee Chair Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, told Fox News Digital. “I’m a physician who happens to care. And I’m concerned for my fellow Americans, especially during a very difficult time in a pandemic. So, who advised such things?”

Wenstrup said committee investigators have “several hours of questions” lined up for the former governor, such as “Why was he spending so much time writing a book while we had a pandemic going on, while we have this nursing home problem?” and “Why did it take him so long to rescind [the executive order] when it became very obvious that this was a bad plan?”

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A spokesperson for the committee’s Democrat minority told Fox News Digital, “The Select Subcommittee Democrats take seriously any effort to evade transparency and mislead the public and remain committed to the forward-looking work of fortifying infection control and prevention to protect America’s nursing homes residents.”

A damning report released in March 2022 by the New York State comptroller found Cuomo’s Health Department “was not transparent in its reporting of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes” and it “understated the number of deaths at nursing homes by as much as 50%” during some points of the pandemic.

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Cuomo and his former aide, Melissa DeRosa, have both previously pushed back on assertions that the former Democrat leader was at fault, insisting that New York’s health department was following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) guidance issued by the Trump administration before Cuomo’s order.

“I would ask him for proof of that because it doesn’t comply,” Wenstrup said when asked about Cuomo’s prior explanation. “Believe me, we’ve done the research. And I don’t think that that’s going to prove to be the case. And we’ll present that to him.”

Wenstrup subpoenaed Cuomo in March to appear before his committee. A letter accompanying the subpoena said Cuomo’s testimony “is vital to our investigation into the effectiveness of federal guidance and regulations implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic regarding the protection of nursing home residents.”

“Further, this investigation may inform legislation to enhance the federal scientific guidance process, including the drafting, publication, and implementation of guidances originating from CMS or CDC,” the letter said.

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That March 5 letter also saw committee Republicans accuse Cuomo of dodging their attempts to interview him, something his lawyer, Rita Glavin, pushed back on in her own letter to Wenstrup the day before.

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“We repeatedly informed the Select Subcommittee’s staff of Governor Cuomo’s willingness to sit for an interview during communications with them over the last several weeks,” Glavin wrote on March 4. “To be clear, Governor Cuomo has been and remains cooperative…I simply ask that we work together to accommodate his legal obligations and my other professional obligations.”

Fox News Digital reached out to Glavin on Monday for follow-up comment on Cuomo’s Tuesday interview.