Gov. Andrew Cuomo took time to take a swipe at Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York City during a press briefing Wednesday where he repeatedly apologized over sexual harassment accusations leveled against him by three women.
Cuomo’s attacks came after days of fierce criticism from Hizzoner over the embattled three-term executive’s treatment of young women — including staffers — and admissions that state health officials refused to release the complete tally of coronavirus deaths linked to nursing homes for months.
The governor made the remarks as he was pressed by reporters over his ability to complete the state’s budget, which is due by the end of the month, as his administration struggles to stay afloat amid a tsunami of scandals that have left some moderate Democrats calling for his resignation.
Cuomo said he wouldn’t step down because there is too much work left to do — a list of duties that includes, he claimed, saving New York City. Though he never mentioned de Blasio — his nemesis — by name, the meaning was clear.
“You also have New York City, which is in a very precarious situation. It’s teetering, to use a word. Crime is way up, homelessness is way up, many people have left New York City,” Cuomo said, hitting on a myriad of issues City Hall has been battling in recent months amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have to get New York City functional again and safe again and viable again — and we have to do that quickly,” he continued.
Cuomo then proceeded to write off much of de Blasio’s year left in office, saying the city will “have a new Mayor that’s going to be selected basically in June” and “that work” — of rescuing New York City — “has to start right away.”
Just minutes later, in response to another question, Cuomo took a second unsolicited swing at the de Blasio-led five boroughs, again describing the city as ‘teetering.’
City Hall said Wednesday Cuomo is one the who is teetering and blasted the cheap shot.
“Governor Cuomo insulted the people of New York City today in a pathetic distraction from his woes. If New York City is so-called `teetering’, then why is Andrew Cuomo proposing budget cuts to New York City’s public hospitals during a pandemic?,” said de Blasio spokesman Bill Neidhart.
Noting that Cuomo had been in hiding for a week after the sex harassment claims surfaced, Neidhart added, “It’s beyond the pale to attack New Yorkers in his long-awaited return.”
De Blasio has said Cuomo has created a self-inflicted “trust crisis” over the scandals and may have to resign.
It’s the second time in two weeks that Cuomo has offered up a hellscape depiction of New York City as de Blasio has blasted away at his administration.
The governor spent several minutes of his Feb. 19 press conference lecturing the Democratic mayoral hopefuls about the issues confronting Gotham — under the guise of providing them a briefing about the city’s challenges — after de Blasio spent days attacking Cuomo over the vaccine rollout and allegations of bullying behavior.