De Blasio’s payback: New York mayor unloads on wounded Cuomo

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio

New York Metropolis Mayor Invoice de Blasio mentioned Gov. Andrew Cuomo should resign if sexual harassment accusations lodged by a number of ladies are substantiated. | Mark Lennihan, FIle/AP Picture

New York

The mayor has referred to as Cuomo’s alleged conduct “grotesque,” “perverse” and “terrifying.”


NEW YORK — Name it payback.

New York Mayor Invoice de Blasio is sticking it to Gov. Andrew Cuomo at each alternative, seizing on the governor’s misfortunes as crises pile up for his fellow Democrat and longtime rival.

De Blasio has referred to as Cuomo’s alleged conduct “grotesque,” “perverse” and “terrifying,” saying Tuesday that he should resign if sexual harassment accusations lodged by a number of ladies are substantiated.

“If these allegations are true, he can’t govern,” the mayor instructed reporters.

There’s been no love misplaced between New York’s two prime chief executives for years, with a simmering feud courting again to 2015 because the mayor was fashioning himself as a nationwide progressive chief and the governor was slumping within the polls.

However de Blasio — acutely aware of the facility that Cuomo wields over town’s affairs and his willingness to make use of it to punish his foes — has normally been cautious to sofa his criticisms in a veneer of civility.

Now, with Cuomo wanting weak amid twin scandals involving sexual harassment allegations and Covid-19 nursing residence deaths, de Blasio is telling the world what he actually thinks.

There’s extra on the road for de Blasio than the possibility to brag on the potential downfall of an enemy who has tormented him for years. He’s pushing the state Legislature to strip away the emergency powers they granted Cuomo at first of the pandemic, which have taken away town’s management over all the things from vaccine distribution to the closing and reopening of indoor eating.

And the mayor could also be weighing a run for governor himself. When requested in latest days about his future, he’s mentioned he’d prefer to proceed working in public workplace and didn’t rule out a run for governor.

“The folks of New York State will take a look at all the things and make their judgments in due time,” de Blasio mentioned final week. “I’ve not made any plans but for my subsequent steps. In some unspecified time in the future I will kind it out.”


The mayor has been elevating cash once more by two political motion committees that he used to finance his ill-fated presidential run. 5 long-time donors — Dennis and Karen Mehiel, Olga and George Tsunis and Jack Rosen — gave a complete of $17,500 to the state NY Equity PAC in December, information present. A month later the Mason Tenders District Council and 32BJ SEIU, two politically lively union teams, additionally chipped in $5,000 apiece to de Blasio’s state committee. The Mehiels and Rosen additionally gave $15,000 to the federal Equity PAC.

A member of the mayor’s staff mentioned the committees are elevating cash to repay tens of 1000’s of {dollars} they nonetheless owe in debt and that latest contributions don’t have anything to do with the governor.

Within the meantime, the allegations of sexual harassment towards Cuomo — and earlier than it the scandal over the deaths of nursing residence residents — have given de Blasio all of the fodder he must change into a relentless presence on cable information.

“If [an investigation] proves that these allegations are true, how can somebody lead a state in the event that they’ve performed these form of issues?” de Blasio instructed CNN’s Jake Tapper on Monday.

Three ladies, together with two former staff, have publicly accused Cuomo of inappropriate conduct. Considered one of his accusers, Lindsey Boylan, says he kissed her with out her consent. In the meantime, federal prosecutors are probing Cuomo’s dealing with of the Covid-19 pandemic in nursing properties, after the state for months did not report 1000’s of deaths.

The twin scandals have drawn consideration to Cuomo’s historical past of aggressive conduct and threats, which de Blasio says he’s skilled first hand.

“I’ve labored with a number of political leaders. I speak to Chuck Schumer on a regular basis. I talked to Nancy Pelosi. I’m going down a complete record. I’ve labored with U.S. presidents,” de Blasio mentioned Monday evening on NY1’s Inside Metropolis Corridor. “Nobody acts like this.”

On Tuesday he once more mentioned the governor ought to step down if the allegations bear out and pressed as soon as extra for a return to native management.

“In case you put an excessive amount of energy in a single individual’s palms, unhealthy issues occur. We want native management again,” de Blasio mentioned at a press briefing Tuesday.

Cuomo’s tight grip has led to repeated clashes over the course of the Covid-19 disaster. When de Blasio first referred to as for a shutdown in New York Metropolis because the illness encroached, Cuomo instantly shot down the concept. Researchers later discovered that an earlier closure could have saved 1000’s of lives.

Cuomo additionally shot down de Blasio’s announcement that metropolis colleges would stay closed for the remainder of final faculty yr, solely to ultimately log out. And the governor’s administration initially disparaged Metropolis Corridor’s recommendation that New Yorkers ought to put on masks, which town lacked the authority to difficulty a mandate.

However the two have clashed over any variety of pre-pandemic points, together with state funding, the MTA and taxing the wealthy.

With Cuomo’s emergency pandemic powers dramatically expanded, de Blasio’s independence from Albany has been even additional curtailed.

“The State legislature should instantly revoke the Governor’s emergency powers that overrule native management,” de Blasio said in a statement Sunday, as he referred to as for 2 separate unbiased investigations into the sexual harassment and nursing residence allegations.

After a former aide, Charlotte Bennett, told the New York Times the governor requested her questions on her intercourse life and instructed her he was open to relationships with youthful ladies, Cuomo admitted to “being playful” and teasing staff about their private lives in a manner that could possibly be interpreted as unwelcome flirtation. “To the extent anybody felt that manner, I’m really sorry about that,” he mentioned.

De Blasio was fast to reject the governor’s try at a mea culpa.

“That is not an apology,” he mentioned Monday. “He gave the impression to be saying, ‘Oh, I used to be simply kidding round.’ You understand, sexual harassment isn’t humorous. It is critical. It needs to be taken critically.”

In every day press conferences which have continued at the same time as Cuomo retreated behind closed doorways for greater than per week and counting, in addition to a number of nationwide TV appearances, de Blasio has been equally harsh on Cuomo’s dealing with of the nursing residence disaster.

Some 15,000 residents at New York nursing properties and assisted dwelling amenities died from the virus — numbers that have been launched solely after state Lawyer Basic Tish James launched an investigation discovering the state undercounted nursing deaths by 50 %, by failing to incorporate individuals who died in hospitals.

Cuomo’s prime aide instructed legislators the administration “froze” and didn’t hand over the info due to fears it will be used towards them by the Trump administration, igniting an extra furor. It’s nonetheless unclear to what extent Cuomo’s coverage requiring nursing properties to confess Covid-positive sufferers contributed to the loss of life toll.

“1000’s of lives misplaced. We nonetheless do not know why. We nonetheless do not understand how a lot of the reality was coated up. We nonetheless do not understand how a lot of it might need been due to the affect of marketing campaign contributions from the nursing residence business, a really highly effective business. There may be a lot that must be uncovered right here,” de Blasio, who has himself confronted a number of allegations of doing favors for marketing campaign donors, mentioned Monday on CNN.

“I do not see how anybody can perform as a governor and have the belief of the folks and the respect of the folks, in the event that they purposefully coated up the deaths of 1000’s of our seniors, our elders, members of the family, beloved members of the family who’re gone,” he added.

Joe Anuta and Amanda Eisenberg contributed to this report.

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