NY assemblyman Ron Kim calls Cuomo an 'abuser' after claims he threatened him

Kim talks to "The View" about his claim that Gov. Andrew Cuomo threatened him for criticizing his handling of COVID-19 nursing home deaths.
8:48 | 02/19/21

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Transcript for NY assemblyman Ron Kim calls Cuomo an 'abuser' after claims he threatened him
Thank you for having me on. Yes. Early on in the pandemic, governor Cuomo got backlash for returning coronavirus patients to nursing homes. That was the first thing, instead of keeping them in the hospital. He later reversed that order, but now he's in hot water again for undercounting the nursing home deaths by as much as 50%, and these being accused of a coverup which he denies. Now you publicly criticized him for this, and then he called you. Tell us what happened after he called you or when he called you. Yeah, so it was last Thursday night. I was about to bathe my three kids when I received a call from the governor. He spent ten minutes threatening my career and ordering me to issue a statement that would be used to cover for the state secretary. The day before that call, the state secretary, Melissa Derosa had implicated his administration by indicating they withheld life-saving nursing home data because they feared the information would be used against them. Well, you hired a lawyer in the wake of this call. Why? What exactly did you understand Cuomo to be asking you to do? I hired a lawyer after this call, not only after this call, but after many calls, many other attempts over the weekend. This was a weekend for my family. This was lunar new year weekend, and I was spending my time, and I got eight calls from the governor and his staff, and I realized that he's continuing to ask me to cover up for his secretary, and I realized at that point I needed to get an attorney which I did over the weekend. You know, assemblyman, this is personal for you. Your queens district has been hit hard by the coronavirus, and your uncle actually passed from presumed covid in a nursing home last year. Mayor de Blasio called this story, quote, classic Cuomo, and said the bullying is nothing new. He said you weren't the only person to receive threats like this. Has governor Cuomo made threats like this before to your knowledge, and why do you think it took so long to finally come to this story? Cuomo is an abuser. He has abused his powers. Abusers are cowards, and he's worse than T.J. Duplo. I would like to point out that his staff even has previously called three of my colleagues who are young women --. Because of the violence against women is normalized, it's barically caused a stir. So I'm going to use this time today to highlight it though because there are outspoken women in New York state who have taken this abuse as well, and don't get the support they rightfully deserve. I'm from Florida, and I think like a lot of our viewers, I don't know the back story or the nuances or history here, but governor Cuomo says he has had a long and hostile relationship with you, and a senior aide who says he was in the room with Cuomo during the call claims you're lying about the he also said it was part of a years' long pattern of lies by you against this administration. How do you respond to that? What's your response? It's a classic Cuomo deflection straight out of the Cuomo playbook, and unfortunately this playbook won't save the governor from the truth which is that his administration's decision to force nursing homes to accept covid patients as you mentioned earlier, while handing out legal and criminal immunity, and then the subsequent coverup of the true number of related deaths. That is a mistake they have to answer for. People have lost loved ones as a result of his actions and they deserve the dignity of an honest I'm very interested in finding out what the federal investigations of this scandal will determine, and I'm so sorry for your loss. I too lost some family members to covid during this crisis. I want to ask you this though. The trump administration and its coronavirus task force led by vice president pence with a separate team led by Jared Kushner had such a limited federal pandemic response, and rather than have the federal government involved, the administration decided to have states largely fend for themselves. Sometimes even pitting the states against each other for resources. Do you think the trump administration bears any responsibility for this scandal and crisis? Of course. There are plenty of things that the trump administration did wrong, and for that reason that you just mentioned, that is why I stood up. I even argued against some of my Progressive colleagues last year to give this governor the powers that he sought, and an extra $40 million to get ahead of the curve. I even sponsored that bill and even stood up and defended him in conference, in my democratic conference saying, Washington isn't doing enough. We need this governor, whether you like him or dislike him, that's not the point. Let's get behind him, his experts, and my constitents are scared. Let's give him a shot. A week goes by, two weeks, one month, two months, and I'm seeing what's going on. There's no communication between the families and the nursing home directors, the department I keep ringing the bell, what is going on? They're not answering, and then many months later, I realized that there was a massive coverup of the data, that this is a very, very important point because if he had that information -- if we had realtime data, we could have done our jobs. We could have legislated, and he took that away from us. We could have had a different outcome if we had all the information in realtime. Well, assemblyman Kim, I think that Cuomo is a ghoul who should step down after everything that has happened. I can't believe the media had let him get away with it as long as they did, but now you're working with other lawmakers to help strip him of his pandemic emergency powers, but the Republicans want to form a bipartisan impeachment commission to gather facts and make a recommendation. Do you think Cuomo should be impeached and would there be democratic support for that as well? My colleagues this week on both sides of the aisle, Democrats and Republicans have reached out to me. What's next? How do we -- how do we get the process started? Taking his powers is not good enough. It's going to expire anyways. What are the next steps? So right now we're actively talking about what that looks like, and people have also asked me, you know, should he resign? And I think Cuomo himself should be asking himself that question in this moment. Assemblyman, before we go, there's something horrible going on in this country. We've seen a spike in violent, unprovoked attacks against asian-americans. During the pandemic, we've even seen a woman who was knocked unconscious in your own hometown of queens. According to the NYPD, anti-asian hate crimes jumped 1,900%. 1,900% in 2020. How do you feel about this, and what can we do about it as a I spoke about this on the floor of the assembly a couple of weeks ago, and we have a big town hall coming up Sunday with my friend Andrew yang, and we're going to continue talking about it, but the way I feel about it is that we have to improve the social conditions that led us to this point. Oftentimes when we look at these hate crimes, we individualize it. It's about individual hatred towards others, and that's not good enough. Those people reached that point of poverty and being pitted against each other because of the lack of investment we have had over the many years, and this also is directly related to governor Andrew Cuomo because he oversaw for 12 years in a budget that undercut and underinvested into our communities and our that is why we have to go back and invest in our people and improve the social conditions that lead to such violence. Okay. Well, I guess you'll be running for governor, huh, assemblyman? Yes? I am exactly where I'm supposed to be right now. I am the chair of the Asian community committee. I am doing my job, and I look forward to doing my job and fixing the problems that this administration put forth for the last ten months.

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

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