NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio says 'bullying is nothing new' for Cuomo after a state lawmaker accuses the governor of making a threatening phone call
- The feud between New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has escalated.
- De Blasio went after Cuomo during a Thursday appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
- De Blasio said Cuomo’s menacing call to a state lawmaker fits a broader pattern of “bullying.”
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In the latest escalation of their ongoing feud, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio condemned New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo over a menacing phone call he made to Assemblyman Ron Kim.
“It’s a sad thing to say, Mika, but that’s classic Andrew Cuomo,” de Blasio said during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Thursday morning.
“A lot of people in New York State have received those phone calls. The bullying is nothing new,” he added.
Kim has been an outspoken critic of the Cuomo administration withholding data on COVID-19 nursing home deaths, which has landed the governor in hot water with not only a scathing report from his own attorney general, but also a looming federal investigation, which was first reported by the Albany Times Union.
The call in question was first reported by CNN, where Kim said the governor threatened to “destroy” him if he did not “cover up” for the governor. Kim, a Queens Democrat whose district includes the Flushing neighborhoods, also said he received multiple calls in a row from Cuomo and that he found the whole thing to be “traumatizing.”
According to Kim, Cuomo was pressing him to give a rosier account of a leaked call he was on with the governor’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, who said the administration “froze” on releasing more nursing home death data out of concern over political blowback.
“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 told CNN on Wednesday.
Cuomo also went after Kim during a press call on Wednesday before accusing Donald Trump, Fox News, and The New York Post of conspiring against him on the nursing homes scandal.
Rich Azzopardi, a Cuomo senior adviser and self-proclaimed “henchman,” denied Kim’s account and accused him of lying.
For his part, de Blasio told MSNBC that he believes Kim, adding that “it’s very sad.”
“No public servant, no person who’s telling the truth should be treated that way. But yeah — 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 this state have heard that,” he went on to say.
Several of Kim’s colleagues in the state legislature have also come to his defense, reiterating that Cuomo has a vindictive streak.
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