New York Democrats are lining up alongside Republican lawmakers to accuse Governor Andrew Cuomo of controlling the state through fear, intimidation and very personal threatening phone calls. Lawmakers from both political parties are piling on long-held criticisms of Cuomo Saturday as his office responds to accusations they covered up nursing home deaths from COVID-19.
A New Yorker piece published Saturday, “The Sound and the Fury of Andrew Cuomo,” highlighted several claims of very personal threats between the governor and elected state officials. Ron Kim, a Democratic assemblyman from Queens, said Cuomo threatened him so loudly over the phone one recent evening that it upset his wife and children in their home.
“I will destroy you” Kim recalled, describing Cuomo’s angry phone call over public criticism he’d made of the nursing home deaths. The Democratic assemblyman’s uncle, Son Kim, died in April at a nursing home from a suspected case of COVID-19.
State Senator Alessandra Biaggi joined the steady stream of Democratic dissent against Cuomo being shared this week across Twitter threads and cable news outlets. Biaggi told The New Yorker Cuomo has threatened her career “so many times” through thinly veiled remarks.
Additionally, two-time Democratic House candidate Nate McMurray compared Cuomo’s efforts to control state politics to “gangster stuff” in a Saturday Forbes piece. McMurray said he received a call from a Cuomo aide on New Year’s Eve that opened with the greeting of “you motherf**er,” and shouts of “you’re done in politics.”
McMurray said the anger was directed at a tweet that criticized Cuomo’s reported plans to attend a Buffalo Bills game amid the pandemic. Conceding that he was “scared,” McMurray told Forbes he took the critical Cuomo tweet down over concerns of a “pervasive culture of fear that has trickled down from his office.”
Yuh-Line Niou, a Democratic assemblywoman from New York City, led an outpour of internal Cuomo criticism on Twitter, remarking Friday: “So many people have been bullied, mistreated, or intimidated by him.”
A state attorney general report emerged in late January that showed a staggering number of deaths occurred after Cuomo made a controversial order to move recovering coronavirus patients from hospitals to nursing homes. The report revealed that thousands of nursing home deaths had not been reported by the Cuomo administration.
The three-term New York governor last week acknowledged making a “mistake in creating the void” by underreporting the nursing home deaths, but has stopped short of a direct apology, prompting ridicule from both Democrats and Republicans.
Former Republican New York Governor George Pataki said “this is not something that can be swept aside…it wasn’t a mistake it was a conscious decision to cover up [nursing home deaths] for months.”
“We’ve all been yelled at by someone in that administration,” Republican Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro told Forbes. “It’s unacceptable but that’s how they operate.”
Newsweek reached out to Cuomo’s office in Albany for additional remarks Saturday afternoon.