GOP Senators Led by Ted Cruz Urge Congress to Probe Andrew Cuomo's Nursing Home Scandal

Ted Cruz leads a contingency of nine Republican senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee who have called upon committee chairman Dick Durbin to launch an investigation into New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's nursing home scandal.

The GOP members wrote a letter to Durbin (D-Ill.) on Wednesday, urging him to schedule hearings for the Cuomo administration's alleged withholding of the number of nursing home COVID-19 deaths.

"The American people deserve to know the extent to which Governor Cuomo and his senior staff violated the civil rights of New York seniors, lied to the Department of Justice about their actions, and violated federal civil and criminal laws in the process," the letter stated, according to the New York Post.

"That so many people needlessly lost their lives because of the failed policies of Governor Cuomo's administration — an administration that many have lauded over the past year — is tragic and deserves a full investigation and accounting."

The other eight senators who joined Cruz are: Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.).

Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) leads a contingency of nine Republican senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee who have called upon the committee chairman to launch an investigation into New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s nursing home scandal. Photo by Ken Cedeno-Pool/Getty Images

Cuomo's office responded to a Newsweek request for comment, with senior adviser Richard Azzopardi saying, "Every death on this pandemic is tragedy and shame on the Treason Caucus for exploiting them to distract from fomenting the Capitol insurrection that resulted in the death of a police officer."

President Joe Biden's nominee for attorney general, Merrick Garland, could expect to hear about the GOP's request to probe Cuomo during Garland's testimony before the Judiciary Committee. The GOP letter on Wednesday states that they anticipate Garland to commit to investigating Cuomo's "cover-up."

"When Judge Garland testifies before this Committee, we expect him to commit the Department of Justice to fully investigating this cover-up to determine whether any criminal laws were violated and to prosecute any violations," the senators wrote.

Cuomo's top aide, Melissa DeRosa, admitted last week that the governor's administration withheld the actual number of nursing home deaths from COVID-19 in fear that federal prosecutors would use the numbers "against us."

New York Attorney General Letitia James then found that COVID nursing home deaths were actually 50 percent higher than the state originally claimed. That included 1,900 New York City that apparently were not reported.

All of this happened as Cuomo published a book that touted his leadership during a crisis.

Then, there was New York City Assemblyman Ron Kim, a Democrat from Queens, who said he received a threatening phone call from Cuomo last week, in which Kim said he would be "destroyed" if he didn't help divert the governor's crisis.

Kim said he was bathing his children when Cuomo called and told the assemblyman, "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. You will be destroyed," Kim recounted of Cuomo's remarks.

Newsweek also reached out to the office of Sen. Dick Durbin for comment.