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De Blasio vows to expose Cuomo if calls for resignation result in COVID-19 vaccine ‘retribution’

Mayor Bill de Blasio on March 12, 2021.
Photo by Dean Moses

Mayor Bill de Blasio will keep receipts in his feud with Governor Andrew Cuomo, and he isn’t afraid to show them if he must.

De Blasio told the press on Monday he would bring any issues of potential retribution from the embattled governor after publicly calling for his resignation on March 12 amid sexual harassment allegations made against Cuomo.

The mayor further suggested that any attempt by Cuomo to bully City Hall would be an act of corruption.

In light of reports that Larry Schwartz, a long-time aide to the governor and a leader in the state’s vaccination effort, called county leaders gauging support for Cuomo, the mayor said for the state to take retribution against New York City in response to his support for resignation would amount to corruption.

“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. “There are lives on the line, and it cannot be tolerated. There needs to be now a full investigation of that on top of the investigation of the nursing home scandal the investigation of the sexual harassment and molestation… There needs to be an investigation of why a senior official in the governor’s office, clearly tried to link vaccine supply to political support, and I’ll tell you something. He better not call me because I’ll tell him what he can do with that.”

The mayor added that any attempt by the state to hobble the city’s vaccination effort through supply would not be kept quiet until the governor either resigns or is removed from office.

“No, it’s unacceptable, and we are not going to stand for it. And if we see any effort to reduce the vaccine supply to New York City as political retribution we will bring it right out in the open.”

The mayor explained that he felt confidence in the legislative leadership in Albany taking up any additional slack regardless of Cuomo’s situation.

The two leaders have not spoken recently, according to de Blasio, as the deadline for the state budget looms just two weeks away. Still, the mayor said, there are major issues to be hammered out with Albany.

“No matter what’s going on in Albany, our teams keep talking and working together, [as much as] possible and our health care teams as well with the Albany health care team, and we’re all gonna keep moving forward. But that said, what’s happening in Albany is making it harder to get things done. And that’s why I think change is needed there,” de Blasio said. “I think the legislature is going to be the lead in this process. I think the governor’s in crisis, and this crisis has become a distraction to the whole state.”

But while the motivation in the legislature to see Cuomo out of office gathers steam, confidence in Cuomo’s ability to lead appears to remain high among the public at large.

A new poll from the Siena Research Institute released Monday says many voters believe he should stay put by about 50-35%.

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