EXCLUSIVE: The No. 3 House Republican, GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, is calling on the Biden administration to fire a federal health official who previously oversaw New York’s deadly COVID-19 nursing home policy.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Deputy Director for Global Health Howard Zucker joined the administration in January 2021. He got the job about a year and a half after he was forced to resign as New York State health commissioner amid accusations that then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration hid how many people really died in nursing homes during the pandemic.
“Disgraced, corrupt Cuomo’s health director Howard Zucker is responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of New York seniors,” Stefanik, R-N.Y. told Fox News Digital.
She called Zucker a “Cuomo henchman” and accused him of leading “the criminal corruption scandal and coverup of the deaths” of New Yorkers living in nursing homes at the time.
“I call on Biden’s CDC to immediately fire Howard Zucker. I will continue fighting to deliver accountability to the New York families who tragically lost loved ones because of Cuomo and Zucker,” Stefanik said.
Other New York Republicans also joined her calls for Zucker’s removal.
“Howard Zucker’s reckless, cruel, and inhumane decision-making during the pandemic caused the death of thousands of New Yorkers in nursing homes. Zucker should be in a courtroom answering for his actions, not employed by the CDC where he can cause more harm,” Rep. Nick LaLota, R-N.Y., told Fox News Digital.
“President Biden should give an ounce of justice to New York families and protect all Americans and fire him immediately,” he said.
Rep. Mike Lawler, R-N.Y., accused Zucker of having “recklessly lied” to New Yorkers during the pandemic and hit out at Cuomo as well for profiting off of the pandemic through his memoir.
“He partook in one of the most shameful coverups in American history, willfully misleading Congress and the state legislature about the true number of deaths that resulted from that disastrous policy — all in an effort to protect disgraced former Governor Andrew Cuomo and his blood money book deal,” Lawler told Fox News Digital.
“Joe Biden must immediately fire Howard Zucker and explain how he was even hired in the first place,” Lawler said.
In 2020, as the pandemic ravaged New York, the state Health Department under Zucker implemented a policy that resulted in nursing home patients being returned to their residences after being hospitalized with COVID-19. Critics of the Democratic administration claimed it fueled the surge in the state’s virus cases, something Cuomo officials denied.
A subsequent report by New York Attorney General Letitia James found that his administration undercounted the number of COVID-related nursing home deaths by thousands.
Fox News Digital reached out to the CDC for comment but did not immediately hear back.