(The Center Square) – New York Republicans on Thursday criticized Gov. Andrew Cuomo after reports circulated the day before that he helped get his family and others preferential access to COVID-19 testing at the onset of the pandemic.
The Albany Times Union reported Wednesday evening that high-ranking members of the state Department of Health were ordered to process coronavirus tests for Cuomo’s brother, mother and at least one sister.
In some instances, family members were tested several times. That includes his brother Chris, who hosts a weeknight news show on CNN. Chris Cuomo tested positive for the virus a year ago. The cable network, in a statement posted on Twitter by The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple, said it was not a shock that he turned to “anyone he could” for help during the early stages of the pandemic.
Besides family members, others who got access included Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Executive Director Rick Cotton and his wife, Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Pat Foye.
Officials in the Cuomo administration told the Times Union reports of the tests were being distorted.
Still, it’s the latest headache for an administration that faces an independent investigation overseen by the attorney general into sexual harassments claims against the governor, a federal inquiry into the administration’s reporting of nursing home deaths tied to the pandemic and questions about the structural integrity of the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge.
New York State Republican Party Chairman Nick Langworthy said in a statement it was a “gross abuse of power” to give family members and others with connections such treatment when testing at that time was not as easily accessible for the public.
He again called on the governor’s impeachment and ripped Democrats in the Legislature for coddling Cuomo.
“We have already known that this governor is unfit to serve and cannot be trusted with emergency powers, yet the Democrat legislature continues to protect him and even voted to extend his emergency powers indefinitely,” Langworthy said.
The New York Assembly Judiciary Committee began work on its impeachment review earlier this week. However, the chairman of the panel indicated it may take months to investigate the myriad of allegations the governor faces.
Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Michael Montesano, R-Glen Head, told The Center Square he found the latest report “angering.”
“It is still a painful recent memory for so many New Yorkers of a time when COVID-19 testing was limited and backlogged and our healthcare systems were overwhelmed because of the rapid spread of the virus,” he said. “To learn the governor prioritized himself, his family and his entourage before suffering New Yorkers is angering. We continue to see a troubling pattern where Gov. Cuomo and his cohorts don’t think rules apply to them.”