WASHINGTON – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is under mounting pressure to answer questions about his administration's handling of COVID-19 in nursing homes. But his explanation in a Monday press conference only outraged state lawmakers and families who lost loved ones.
"I want to clarify facts on the nursing homes," Cuomo said looking into the camera.
The governor insisted his administration was honest in its reporting of COVID-19 in nursing homes but conceded they were too slow to get information to the press and public.
"The public had many questions and concerns and the press had many questions about nursing homes primarily," said Cuomo. "I understand that they were not answered quickly enough."
Last week, it was revealed that 12,743 long-term patients died of the virus in New York, much higher than the state's official tally of 8,500.
And in a phone call with New York state Democrats, Cuomo's secretary admitted that his office withheld data on the number of COVID-19 nursing home deaths because they were afraid it would be used against them in a Justice Department investigation.
In March, Cuomo had issued a mandate which sent 9,000+ COVID-positive patients into nursing home.
Now, families want to know if their loved ones could have been saved.
"Our seniors deserve justice and that requires an independent investigation," said Vivian Zayas, whose mother died from COVID in a New York nursing home.
Fox News' Janice Dean lost both of her in-laws and has been speaking out about Cuomo for months.
"He is a liar. He just continues to lie and deflect and blame everyone else," Dean said on Fox News.
Dean is calling for an independent bipartisan investigation into Cuomo and his administration.
"I am calling on every single lawmaker in Albany and also on the federal level," said Dean. "Do you not see what is happening right now? Do you not care about all of the people in New York state – why their loved ones died in nursing homes. He didn't follow the science. You don't put infected patients into nursing homes. That is the bottom line, governor."
Calls for Cuomo to resign continue to grow and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are taking action.
"Today, I call upon the Department of Justice, and Attorney General James to investigate Governor Cuomo and his administration from top to bottom," announced Republican State Sen. Robert Ortt.
Democratic Assemblywoman Alessandra Biaggi blasted Cuomo on Twitter following his Monday press conference: "To NY'ers watching Cuomo's press conference – it is riddled with lies, theater, & deflection."
Assemblywoman Jessica Ramos, also a Democrat, had tough words for the governor on Twitter too: "Trash. No one believes you."
In addition to investigations, state Democrats also discussed taking away Governor Cuomo's emergency powers to deal with the pandemic.