‘He Would Destroy Me’: New York Lawmaker Says Cuomo Threatened Him, Pressured Him To Lie

(Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
Font Size:

Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo reportedly threatened a New York state assemblyman who has been critical of his coronavirus management.

Democratic Queens Assemblyman Ron Kim angered Cuomo by signing and circulating a letter accusing the governor of obstruction of justice for failing to turn over data on nursing home deaths during the coronavirus pandemic. A Cuomo aide had previously told New York state assembly Democrats that the administration hid the death totals to avoid a Justice Department investigation.

Cuomo called Kim at his home to berate him after hearing about the letter. “He goes off about how I hadn’t seen his wrath and anger, that he would destroy me and he would go out tomorrow and start telling how bad of a person I am and I would be finished,” Kim recounted to the New York Times. (RELATED: Cuomo Blames ‘Press, Cynics’ For COVID ‘Disinformation, Conspiracy Theories’)

Cuomo then pressured Kim to lie about the aide’s disclosure of the nursing home death totals. “Basically, I saw a crime and he’s asking me to say that I did not see that crime. I heard what I heard and I can’t lie,” Kim said.

Cuomo has faced criticism from state lawmakers for the coronavirus death cover-up. A report from the New York Attorney General’s office suggested that the Cuomo administration deliberately undercounted the nursing home deaths total by as much as 50%. The administration did this by only classifying people who died in nursing homes as “nursing home deaths,” even if they contracted COVID-19 at the nursing home and died in ambulances or hospitals.

Cuomo has attempted to shift the blame for his handling of the coronavirus and nursing homes, accusing his critics of spreading “disinformation.”

“We made a mistake in creating the void. When we didn’t provide information, it allowed press, people, cynics, politicians to fill the void. When you don’t correct disinformation, you allow it to continue,” he said in a Feb. 15 news conference.