Twelve New York State Assembly Democrats released a statement on Thursday in support of their fellow Democratic Assemblymember Ron Kim.
The statement was issued in response to Kim’s allegations against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, accusing the governor of threatening to “destroy” him if he didn’t help contain the damage created by the Cuomo Administration’s COVID-19 related deaths in nursing homes scandal.
The statement, issued by State Assemblymembers Harvey Epstein, Tom Abinanti, Khaleel Anderson, Robert C. Carroll, Emily Gallagher, Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, Andrew Hevesi, Anna Kelles, Zohran Mamdani, Marcela Mitaynes, Yuh-Line Niou and Phara Souffrant-Forrest, read, “We are deeply disturbed by the Governor’s attacks on our colleague — a fellow Democrat — Assemblymember Kim.”
The state lawmakers also expressed their support of legislation to remove Cuomo’s emergency powers that were granted to him early in the pandemic to help combat the virus. State democrats no longer believe Cuomo’s powers are appropriate following a call in which secretary to the governor Melissa DeRosa admitted the administration had withheld data on nursing home deaths.
In their statement, the Assemblymembers wrote, “It is our job to represent our constituents and seek answers to the tragedies that took place in nursing homes around the State. We have no interest in name calling — we aim to restore the proper balance of power between the Legislature and Executive branches.”
Assemblymember Ron Kim, whose uncle died of COVID-19 in a nursing home, alleges he received a phone call on Feb. 11 from Governor Cuomo. The call began with the governor asking Kim, “Mr. Kim, are you an honorable man?”
Cuomo, he said, asked him to draft a statement “to say that Melissa DeRosa said there was a federal investigation and they had to deal with that first.” Kim says the conversation then turned sour and Cuomo furiously told him,
“You have not seen my wrath. I have been biting my tongue for months…I can tell the whole world what a bad person you are and you will be finished.”
Kim also alleges that Cuomo was so loud on the phone that his wife could hear the governor yelling.
The governor's office has denied Kim’s allegations and even accused him of lying.
Mayor of New York City Bill De Blasio slammed Cuomo on MSNBC on Thursday explaining that Kim’s allegations are another “classic” example of the governor’s bullying. “The bullying is nothing new,” he stated.
On Wednesday, State Senator Alessandra Biaggi (D) also issued a statement defending Assemblymember Kim saying, “Governor Cuomo’s statements today about Assemblymember Kim are part of a disturbing pattern of behavior from the Governor. Instead of accepting responsibility for mistakes, the Governor has chosen to deflect blame and evade accountability time and time again.”