New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio said Thursday that Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “bullying is nothing new” when it comes to reports of threats and demands.
Assemblyman Ron Kim said Cuomo called him and said he’d “destroy” the Queens Democrat. Kim had previously signed and circulated a letter accusing the governor of obstructing justice by concealing data on nursing home deaths.
“Yeah. 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. You know, the bullying is nothing new,” De Blasio said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“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. 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 the state have heard that,” De Blasio said.
DeRosa recently apologized for withholding the state’s actual COVID-19 nursing home death count, the New York Post reported Feb. 11. DeRosa told the Post the administration “froze” out of fear that federal prosecutors would use the nursing home deaths “against us.”
Prior to Cuomo’s call, Kim told the Post that DeRosa seemingly said it seemed “like they admitted that they were trying to dodge having any incriminating evidence that might put the administration or the [Health Department] in further trouble with the Department of Justice.”
“That’s how I understand their reasoning of why they were unable to share, in real time, the data,” Kim said, according to the Post. “They had to first make sure that the state was protected against federal investigation.”
De Blasio defended Kim as “a good public servant” and said he fully believes the assemblyman.
“First of all, I know him. He’s a good public servant,” De Blasio said.
“I’ve always seen him as a person of integrity. But it’s just the script is exactly what a lot of us have heard before. It’s not a surprise. It’s sad. It’s not the way people should be treated. And you know, a lot of people get intimidated by that. I give him credit for not being intimidated,” De Blasio said.
Richard Azzopardi, a senior adviser to the governor, said Kim is “lying about his conversation” with Cuomo last week, according to a statement.
“I know because I was one of the three other people in the room when the phone call occurred. At no time did anyone threaten to ‘destroy’ anyone with their ‘wrath’ nor engage in a ‘coverup,’ Azzopardi said, according to Goba’s tweeted statement. “That’s beyond the pale and is unfortunately part of a years-long pattern of lies by Mr. Kim against his administration.”