Gov. Andrew Cuomo's cover-up of nursing home deaths is "reprehensible" and should spur New Yorkers to "recall" the governor, according to former Republican Gov. George Pataki.
"I think it would be appropriate to take a hard look at that," Pataki, 75, told the New York Post. "I only think it should be used in extraordinary cases, but when you really have lost confidence in the leadership in your state, I think the opportunity should exist for the majority of the people to say we want something different."
Unlike California, which is petitioning to recall Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom for his coronavirus lockdowns and mismanagement, New York does not have a recall procedure.
Pataki once sought a New York amendment for just that in 2002, but then Democrat Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver swatted it down.
Gov. Cuomo is facing fire after his aide Melissa DeRosa admitted to Democrats this week the administration withheld nursing home deaths data from media and lawmakers fearing a Trump administration Justice Department investigation. Cuomo is one of five Democrat governors who issued a mandate to nursing homes at the start of the coronavirus pandemic to take in COVID-19 positive patients.
About 40% of New Yorkers supported a recall of Gov. Cuomo even before the DeRosa admission, according to the Post.
"Crime is through the roof," Pataki told the Post, adding, "You have mentally ill people on the street harassing you and this is Sixth Avenue and midtown in the middle of the day. There is a tremendous concern that things are not as they should be and it's not because of COVID."
New York can remove Gov. Cuomo via impeachment under the state constitution, but Pataki is calling for a 2021 mayoral vote and 2020 gubernatorial election to change the leadership in the state.
"I think there are a lot of potentially really good candidates who could raise the Republican banner high and mount a very serious challenge to Andrew Cuomo," Pataki said specifically of Reps. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y.; Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y.; and Nicole Malliotakis, R-N.Y.
Pataki pointed to the mass exodus of New Yorkers to other states, as they flee coronavirus restrictions, high taxes, and exploding costs of living.
"I can't tell you the number of my friends who are looking in Florida," Pataki told the Post. "These are committed New Yorkers. They're not the super wealthy who can fly privately back and forth. They are people who have lived most of their lives in New York who just doubt the future and wonder why they should be paying so much more for a quality of life that in parts of Florida is much cheaper and perhaps better.
"I am not one of those who is ready to give up but many are. And that's discouraging. It wasn't long ago that everyone wanted to be in New York."
Pataki is very exited about supermarket billionaire John Catsimatidis, who is weighing a run as a Democrat in the New York mayoral race.
"If he were to run, I think the Republican Party would unite behind him, and I think a great many Democrats would unite behind him," Pataki told the Post. "I think he'd have a very good chance because he's a New Yorker who knows not just business but the streets."
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