De Blasio slams Cuomo: ‘The bullying is nothing new’
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) blasted New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Thursday after a lawmaker said the governor threatened him for criticizing the state’s pause in releasing data on coronavirus deaths in nursing homes.
De Blasio, who has regularly clashed with Cuomo, weighed in on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” after host Mika Brzezinski asked the mayor if he had ever heard Cuomo make similar alleged threats to anyone.
“It’s a sad thing to say, Mika, but that’s classic Andrew Cuomo. A lot of people in New York state have received those phone calls. The bullying is nothing new,” de Blasio said.
.@NYCMayor de Blasio reacts to our interview with NY Assemblyman @RonTKim, who says he was threatened by @NYGovCuomo: “That’s classic Andrew Cuomo…The bullying is nothing new.” https://t.co/nflM2tLyq8 pic.twitter.com/O7HVYyz7vt
— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) February 18, 2021
De Blasio was responding to a separate “Morning Joe” interview during which New York Assemblyman Ron Kim (D) said that Cuomo called him at home last week, berated him for 10 minutes and said he had that night to change his public statement about top aide Melissa DeRosa amid controversy over the state’s handling of nursing home deaths.
Kim said he had “no choice” but to speak up because the governor “crossed a line that can’t be undone.”
“Gov. Cuomo called me directly on Thursday to threaten my career if I did not cover up for Melissa and what she said. He tried to pressure me to issue a statement, and it was a very traumatizing experience,” Kim added on CNN.
“I believe Ron Kim. No public servant, no person who’s telling the truth should be treated that way,” de Blasio said on MSNBC.
He added that “the threats, the belittling, the demand that someone change their statement right that moment. Many, many times I’ve heard that, and I know a lot of other people in the state have heard that.”
The debacle started when DeRosa told lawmakers that the administration “froze” releasing information on long-term care facilities out of fears of a federal investigation.
She later said in a statement that she needed to put aside the legislature’s request to deal with any federal requests first.
Cuomo’s administration has faced bipartisan backlash since New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) released a report last month finding that the state underreported COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes early on in the pandemic.
The Albany Times-Union reported on Wednesday that Cuomo’s handling of COVID-19 outbreaks in nursing homes is now the subject of federal investigation.