Governor Andrew Cuomo toured a vaccination site in Long Island on Monday, stressing the importance of passing the budget on time amid skepticism that his ongoing sexual harassment allegations will not distract from the task at hand.
As the state hastens toward opening up vaccine eligibility for all come May, the governor stated that the issue of placing the state on path to recovery was one of the most important objectives for Albany legislators, himself included, and that solving problems in New York City would also take priority.
“Today the legislature puts in their budgets. So the Senate puts in their budget, the assembly puts in their budget, I presented my budget several weeks ago. This is the most important budget in the history of the state,” Cuomo said. “We have the greatest needs for the people of this state, unemploy housing problems, mental health problems, food insecurity problems. We are at a pivotal moment in this state. And what we do now will decide the trajectory and the budget is more than just the budget… This is the plan for recovering from the state of New York. And we have real issues. New York City has serious, serious issues, growing, growing homelessness.”
The comments came minutes after Mayor Bill de Blasio said his administration would not put up with any form of political retribution resulting from his adamant calls for the governor’s resignation.
When questioned on the matter of Larry Schwartz, Cuomo’s lead in the vaccination effort, reportedly calling county leaders gauging support for Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio told reporters he would be keeping careful notes on his discussions with the governor going forward and lay it all out in the open if the city’s vaccination supply is in any way impacted.
De Blasio called the tactic an act of “corruption,” and has been lobbying the federal government for weeks to provide vaccine allocations directly to the city, instead of using Albany as a sort of middleman.
“What we’ve heard is about the governor and his team, trying to link vaccine supply to political support, that is the definition of corruption. It is disgusting. It is dangerous,” de Blasio said.
Despite de Blasio’s lack of confidence in Governor Cuomo’s ability to lead throughout several investigations into his conduct as well as reporting of nursing home deaths, he believes the leadership of Assembly Speaker Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins will prevail in delivering the budget.
The sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo now number seven women, mostly former and current staffers, who claim he has made inappropriate remarks toward them as well as fondling.