Gov. Cuomo faces backlash over nursing home deaths, sexual harassment allegations

The New York state attorney general confirmed Cuomo’s administration did not properly account for COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes early in the pandemic.
7:02 | 02/26/21

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Transcript for Gov. Cuomo faces backlash over nursing home deaths, sexual harassment allegations
ABC news senior investigative reporter caricatures he has been following the controversy joins me now. With more on this Aaron this started with an order back in March for nursing homes to readmit patients. Still recovering from covic nineteen walk us through that chain of events. That was back on March 25 it was a directive that new York and a number of other states took Diane. And they were following CDC guidance at the time it nursing home residents. Had been tested positive had to be hospitalized. And once they were discharged from the hospital even if they had not yet. Fully tested negative. The state said they had to be readmitted to their nursing home there was really nowhere else to put them. Remember at the time hospitals were becoming overrun there was concern about bed space and the hospitals just did not have the did and capacity to do to kind of recoup produce care. That may have been a better alternative in hindsight. The state says it's still stands by that decision it was rescinded several weeks later and and there was more flexibility in the system. Up but that critics said. Moving patients between hospitals and nursing homes me and the increased. The number of deaths associated with nursing homes and it was why the death toll in nursing homes was so high. The Cuomo administration has said there's no evidence of that. That that policy alone did not. Fuel co lead in nursing homes that 98% of nursing homes already were infected with Colvin because of staff members bringing it in from the outside. Before any discharge patients ever return. An hour in the near attorney general says that if the nursing home debts had been recorded properly. They could've and 50%. Higher what impact could that have had. On efforts to stop the spread if they were able to pinpoint those deaths to the nursing homes. This is really where to Cuomo administration seems to have gone wrong Diane they clearly you word to sensitive. About the idea that they had mishandled. Did the crisis in nursing homes Governor Cuomo had been getting such high marks early in a pandemic. For how he handled the crisis overall but nursing homes. Really became a tough spot for him and where his critics really dug in critics especially like. Former president trump who was constantly being compared to Cuomo in terms of I'm of adequacy of response. And wanted to take him down a peg and call most people say this all became politicized. But let families whose loved one died in nursing homes wondered. If the Cuomo administration did everything they could if they had understood. Who was dying from from corona virus and why. Maybe things could have been a little bit different and may be their loved ones could have been saved and and did the states without health commissioner Howard zucker. Appeared before a state legislative committee just yesterday. And he he said that some of this. Was a problem in data reporting and they're going to try to fix it going forward but the criticism lenders and and it's still a stain. On on Cuomo's handling of the pandemic. And Cuomo's top aide admitted that they covered up this data out of fear that president times administration would use it against them what do you make of that reasoning. They're probably right about that that it but I think it does show a defensiveness rather than try to explain. The reasoning for their decision of the outs general or explain why they may have. Messed with the numbers they just decided to with hold those numbers and and they told the state legislature. That that they were too busy they were dealing with a federal investigation. And they Jess couldn't come clean. So they slow walk the numbers on purpose and and the reason they gave was because. The trump administration was going to use it against the Cuomo administration they've they may have been right about that but it does state lawmakers say that's still doesn't excuse the idea. Bad you have to come clean with the request and and they used the excuse study and to now try to reassert themselves. Governor Cuomo is known for he's brash style and and sometimes for going it alone and maybe not fully recognizing the legislative branch in the state. And so we've him on the rolls. State lawmakers have now said they're going to try and check use power and there could be a vote as soon as next week in the state senate to do just that. So what other consequences could almost faced over all of this is impeachment on the table. Well Republicans certainly would like it it and and it called for it but we're not sure that they're going to be able to Muster enough support to actually get. Cuomo a lot of office and he certainly not going to go quietly. But this is one of the the biggest crises he has ever traced in in his house three terms. As governor of his excuse is always look at the results in the state policy activity rate has come down the death rate has come down. Overall the state has been you're weathering the crisis pretty well. But be sexual harassment allegations have not been believe better fully answered. He still faces. Deepening calls over his leadership style to to to make some changes. And state lawmakers may well try to put a check on his power may ultimately not be the the kind of brom boss checked that that is critics would like. But it would certainly be the first time since he's been governor. That state lawmakers have asserted themselves in this way. And Aaron the governor is expected to hold a briefing today. Or on Monday in described his normal brash. Kind of way of addressing these things he's been known even insult reporters who ask questions that he doesn't lie she has vehemently denied. A lot of the things being asked about now how do you think he will address these controversies. At this stage. It's hard to see him suddenly coming to contrition he he. And his aides have always signaled a New York politics is in for everybody had it it isn't always pretty. It is and always nice sometimes side if it requires bare knuckles and and that's. Perfectly fine within Andrew Cuomo. But he's being called to account for that and that's dial that has worked for him in the past and may well work forum. Early in the pandemic. It is now you know. Kind of rubbing people the wrong way he wrote a book touting his leadership style. As the state was still going through the pandemic that also. Kind of rubbed people the wrong way and so there there is this this notion now that he needs to be brought down a peg. Cuomo vote. Does have to do answered to sexual harassment allegation from his former aide Lindsey Boylan. I he has done it previously his first chance to do it could be today if he decides to hold up a Friday briefing as he usually does. Current caricatures ski and thank you Aaron we appreciate it.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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