De Blasio Weighs in on Reports of Cuomo Threatening Lawmaker Over Nursing Home Remarks
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) is not surprised New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) reportedly threatened a lawmaker over criticism of how he handled COVID-19 nursing home deaths.
Democratic Assemblyman Ron Kim told CNN he received a call from Cuomo last week where he allegedly threatened him.
“Gov. Cuomo called me directly on Thursday to threaten my career if I did not cover up for Melissa [DeRosa] and what she said. He tried to pressure me to issue a statement, and it was a very traumatizing experience,” Kim said.
He added, “[Cuomo said] we’re in this business together and we don’t cross certain lines, and he said I hadn’t seen his wrath and that he can destroy me.”
DeRosa, Cuomo’s secretary, told lawmakers state officials withheld data on COVID-19 nursing home deaths because they feared it would be used against them in an investigation, as IJR reported.
“Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski asked de Blasio if he has ever heard of anything like this from Cuomo.
“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.
He continued, “I believe Ron Kim and it’s very, very sad. No public servant, no person who is telling the truth should be treated that way.”
“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.”
Watch his comments below:
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio on Governor Andrew Cuomo reportedly threatening a lawmaker over nursing home criticism:
“That’s classic Andrew Cuomo … The bullying is nothing new.” pic.twitter.com/N1GwDtDRRU
— The Recount (@therecount) February 18, 2021
Kim alleged during an MSNBC interview on Thursday that Cuomo “berated” and “yelled” at him, and “told me that my career would be over, he’s been biting his tongue for months against me, and I had tonight — not tomorrow — tonight to issue a new statement, essentially asking me to lie.”
The statement from Cuomo’s office said, “At no time did anyone threaten to ‘destroy’ anyone with their ‘wrath’ nor engage in a ‘coverup.’ That’s beyond the pale and is unfortunately part of a years-long pattern of lies by Mr. Kim against this administration.”
The FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn are reportedly opening an investigation into Cuomo’s handling of nursing homes during the coronavirus pandemic, as IJR reported.
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