Cuomo pushes back at Dem critic Ron Kim over nursing home scandal: 'A long and hostile relationship'

New York Democrats rip Gov. Cuomo’s defense of his pandemic response

FOX News correspondent Bryan Llenas has the latest details on the controversy on ‘Special Report’

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo pushed back against one of his biggest Democratic critics, implying that opposition to Cuomo regarding nursing home coronavirus deaths is merely the result of a political grudge.

In a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, Cuomo went on the attack against New York State Assemblyman Ron Kim, who had recently signed a letter to colleagues accusing Cuomo of obstruction of justice. Cuomo shifted the focus from their current disagreements to a matter from 2015.

“I’ve had a – my office, more than me – has had a long and hostile relationship with Assemblyman Ron Kim,” Cuomo said. “It goes back to the issue on nail salons.”

Cuomo then explained how he and Kim had both backed a bill to protect nail salon workers from poor conditions and wage theft, only for Kim to then suddenly oppose it when business owners complained. The about-face, which focused on a requirement for nail salon owners to purchase wage bonds in case of a wage theft lawsuit, was covered at the time by the New York Times, That report noted, as Cuomo did on Wednesday, that the lobbying firm where Kim had previously worked got involved to help the store owners.

Cuomo said Wednesday described what Kim did as “pay-to-play” and that Kim’s behavior “was unethical, if not illegal.”

The governor wrapped up the discussion of the past events by reiterating that his office’s relationship with Kim “has been a long-running situation.”

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Cuomo failed to note that Kim’s uncle died of COVID-19 in a nursing home.

Fox News reached out to Kim’s office for comment but they did not immediately respond.

State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, another recent critic of the governor, responded to Cuomo’s attack on Kim with a warning.

“[C]areful, your instinct for blatant deflection and distraction is showing,” Biaggi tweeted, tagging Cuomo.

Kim’s letter, which was also signed by eight other Democratic members of the state assembly, accused Cuomo of “intentional criminal wrongdoing” by withholding data regarding nursing home coronavirus deaths to state lawmakers. 

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Cuomo said in response to this that the allegation of obstruction was “100% wrong” and that he did not commit obstruction. The governor claims that the administration paused their response to state lawmakers to focus on another request from the Department of Justice and that both houses of the state legislature were told about this.

Members of the Assembly and Senate have disputed this, claiming the administration had not informed them of this.

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