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A defensive Gov. Andrew Cuomo went on a 15-minute rant Friday in which he vowed to counter what he claimed were “lies” and “misinformation” about his handling of nursing homes amid the COVID-19 pandemic — and accused his critics of “causing pain” to the relatives of residents killed by the disease.
During a virtual news conference from Albany, Cuomo said, “I’m not going to let you hurt New Yorkers by lying about what happened. Surrounding the death of a loved one.”
“So, I’m going to take on the lies and the unscrupulous actors, especially when they cause pain and damage to New York,” he said.
“I should have done it before. And I should have done it more aggressively.”
“This is different,” he said.
“This is causing the pain to families who lost a loved one.”
His remarks, which appeared to have been scripted and were accompanied by slides reinforcing his message, came a day after the New York Law Journal reported that the FBI and the Brooklyn US Attorney’s Office had launched a probe of his COVID-19 task force in the wake of The Post’s report.
They also came amid an escalating feud with a growing bloc of state legislators, including Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens).
Kim — whose uncle died in a nursing home in April after suffering symptoms of COVID-19 — this week accused Cuomo of threatening him during a phone call prompted by critical remarks he made to The Post.
Also during Friday’s news conference, Health Commissioner Howard Zucker defended his controversial March 25 directive for nursing homes to accept COVID-19 patients, which critics have blamed for spreading the deadly virus among vulnerable seniors.
Zucker said the state was “running out of ICU space” as hospitalizations were “doubling every three days.”
“With the facts that we had at that moment in time, it was the correct decision at that moment in time,” he said.
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