Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) said that if current New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was the state attorney general now, like he was prior to being governor, "he would destroy the governor" who withheld the state's COVID-19 nursing home fatalities.
Zeldin explained the scandal to the John Solomon Reports podcast: "First, the governor puts the executive order out, end of March 2020, requiring infected patients to be placed with healthy nursing home residents. We just learned that number was over 9,000 infected patients who were placed in these nursing homes. And as a result of the underreporting, we are just hearing in recent days and weeks, that the number of seniors who passed away as a result of this policy was a lot higher than what was originally being put out by the state. So one issue was the order itself, but then there was a cover up."
"Now we have an admission from Melissa DeRosa, who is a top aide to Andrew Cuomo, the secretary to the governor, who — it's like a chief of staff position — and she admitted that they didn't provide information that they should have on the nursing home deaths. And they were doing it because they were concerned — they wanted to block a DOJ investigation. Her admission, as reported by the New York Post, wasn't just that they withheld information. She also speaks to the intent of the reasoning as to why they withheld the information," Zeldin said.
Cuomo, having been a former prosecutor, knew what he did was breaking the law, Zeldin said.
"And by the way, Andrew Cuomo is a former Attorney General in New York, so this isn't someone who's naive to the law — an attorney himself, he's a former prosecutor. And I would only imagine what Andrew Cuomo as the New York State Attorney General, an ambitious Andrew Cuomo who wants to become governor, would be doing if the roles were reversed right now — he would destroy the governor with this particular fact pattern," Zeldin said.
Zeldin explained how the media's actions were "indefensible" by not investigating New York's COVID-19 statistics, particularly because they were so focused on taking down President Trump.
"But when things were starting to go off the rails, and you're smart enough to realize what's right and wrong, that's where the tough pivot has to get made. But I think that the ultimate trump card here is November 3rd approaching. And there was this desperation by so many in the media to take down Donald Trump, that if they really — if they aggressively sought after that deep dive on fact, on reality of what was happening in New York and what was going on with Andrew Cuomo, that would have really taken away from their ability to take down Donald Trump," Zeldin said.
"And that is where the media has a whole lot of responsibility, is when everything started pivoting and the issues became so much more obvious. And then the media knew that something was wrong and then they weren't chasing after it because it didn't fit with the business model, the narrative, the agenda, the bias. And that's the indefensible part.”
While the media did not initially investigate the COVID-19 nursing home scandal, now that it has broken out, they are speaking up, Zeldin said.
"This isn't just people who don't like Andrew Cuomo … there are a lot of Democratic state legislators who are speaking up, you have a lot of allies in the media, now, finally, over the course of a day or two, starting to speak up more. So that is, I think, a testament to Andrew Cuomo was begging for that type of a reaction. He was asked about this a few weeks ago, and he said, 'Who cares?'"
Zeldin discussed how there is no congressional oversight so far of Cuomo's actions.
"There is no sign yet of those committee chairs, those members of leadership looking to use their power, to use their gavel, to use their oversight and their own subpoenas to help get to the bottom of this. I haven't seen any sign to indicate that. You mentioned the Judiciary Committee — Jerry Nadler represents a district right in the heart of this, he hasn't said anything that I have seen as far as the Judiciary Committee digging deep. You know, Chuck Schumer is from the heart of the — I mean, really the epicenter, where the outbreak and where this particular controversy we're talking about stems from. I've not seen anything come from him," Zeldin said.
Despite the lack of congressional action, Zeldin said that there are other ways Cuomo can be held accountable.
"Now as far as options go, the state legislature, they have power to subpoena, they can help get more info out — they have impeachment power. New York voters have a power —November 2022, Andrew Cuomo is up for reelection again. The Department of Justice, other prosecutors in New York, they have powers if they want to pursue it. I mean, it kind of looks like an obstruction of justice case, what was admitted to by the secretary to the governor. And that might not be the only criminality when you start analyzing the original order and what that meant as far as death. So there's a lot of where this can go from here," Zeldin said.
Zeldin also mentioned the legacy of Rush Limbaugh, who passed away Wednesday morning at age 70 after battling lung cancer.
"He completely blazed a trail for talk radio that for forever changed what talk radio is, what it meant. It shaped the conservative movement for generations of conservatives. Rush's outreach to Americans from all walks of life, that helped frame debate and thought on so many important issues of the day. And what can't be understated was the size of his following," Zeldin said.
"There are people who are in talk radio, and they have an audience, they're proud of their audience, it's a loyal base. But there was something different about Rush. It was millions of Americans tuning into every word, and many people would be at work with their radio barely on, and they're capturing every single thing. And they felt like what Rush was saying, in so many respects, was relating to what they were thinking, but it felt good to hear someone else saying it — that confirmation that the way they viewed government, politics, current events — they weren't alone. So it was a special type of bond relationship that he had with millions of Americans that will never be forgotten."