Mayor de Blasio blasted Gov. Andrew Cuomo as a bully whose threatening behavior is abnormal and beyond the pale — even in the rough-and-tumble world of politics.
“I talk to Chuck Schumer all the time, I talk to Nancy Pelosi,” de Blasio said on NY 1 Monday night.
“I’ve talked to US presidents. No one acts like this,” the mayor said.
De Blasio unloaded on Cuomo as a third woman accused the embattled governor of inappropriate behavior during an encounter at a wedding party.
Asked about his relationship with Cuomo, de Blasio said, “I had experienced many different realities that showed not being decent, I would call the normal way people are supposed to relate to each in government when you can disagree. People can be tough to each other.
“The classic reality that we’ve seen here, [is the]threatening of people, the attempt to undermine people in ways that don’t conform to how things are normally done.”
The two powerful New York Democratic pols have often been at odds during the overlapping tenures as mayor and governor.
After a nasty dispute in 2015, de Blasio said Cuomo engaged in “political machinations” and “some sort of revenge or vendetta” if people disagreed with him.
De Blasio lit into Cuomo again on accusations of on-the-job sexual harassment leveled against the governor by former staffers Lindsey Boylan and Charlotte Bennett, as well as his controversial nursing home policies.
He said the Cuomo scandals have created a “trust crisis” and a “crisis of confidence.”
“Two women have come forward with very detailed accounts of sexual harassment. This is the kind of thing that should never happen in today’s society anywhere — but particularly with someone entrusted with leadership and who is supposed to look for the rights of women.
“To see that someone may have literally used their power over a young woman, the fact she was an employee, to try to insinuate she should have a sexual relationship with him. That’s how certainly Charlotte Bennett heard it. And I don’t blame her given the details we heard. That sounds exactly like what was being said. That’s unacceptable behavior.”
“Come on! That’s just not acceptable behavior in today’s society.”
Before the scandals rocked his governorship, Cuomo was planning to run for a fourth term next year. But de Blasio said Cuomo may not be able to finish his term.
He said Cuomo becomes “invalidated” if the harassment accusations are substantiated.
State Attorney General Letitia James is overseeing the Cuomo probe and will appoint an independent investigator to handle the case.
“I’m talking about the ramifications here. You don’t have the trust of the people anymore. If you can’t look people in the eye, what do you do?,” the mayor said.
The governor’s office had no immediate comment on de Blasio’s claims about the governor’s threatening behavior.
Cuomo did release a statement on Sunday trying to explain away the harassment allegations, characterizing his comments as “jokes.”
“At work sometimes I think I am being playful and make jokes that I think are funny. I do, on occasion, tease people in what I think is a good-natured way,” Cuomo said.
“I now understand that my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal and that some of my comments, given my position, made others feel in ways I never intended,” he added. “I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation. To the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry.”
Earlier Monday, de Blasio said Cuomo’s treatment of the young women was no laughing matter.
The mayor also referenced the Cuomo nursing home scandal being investigated by the Justice Department and federal prosecutors from the Brooklyn US Attorney’s Office.
De Blasio referred to the Cuomo team’s admission that it hid the true number of nursing home residents killed by COVID-19 from lawmakers and the public for months because of a federal inquiry — a cover up first revealed in a Post scoop.
“We don’t even know why. We don’t know the truth of why it was withheld information. Why they took the action they took. Did it connect to their political needs, media needs, did it connect to their campaign contributions?. We don’t know,” the mayor said.
“But we know those families are missing their loved ones.”
“Why do know the information was withheld. Why do we know that? Because the governor’s top aide told us,” he said, referring to the secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa.
“This is a trust crisis if I’ve ever seen one. A crisis of confidence.”
The governor and state Health Department Commissioner Howard Zucker defended their initial March 25, 2020 directive that required nursing homes to admit or readmit recovering COVID-19 patients discharged from hospitals, a policy that critics said contributed to infections and deaths of other nursing home residents.