New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio likened his longtime rival Gov. Andrew Cuomo to a dead man walking on Friday, saying it’s hard to see how the powerful three-term executive “goes on” as his administration is consumed by allegations of sexual harassment and a nursing home coverup.
Hizzoner made the remarks just hours after CBS News broadcast a wrenching interview with one of the three women accusing Cuomo of sexual harassment — and new reports emerged that his administration manipulated the state Health Department review of nursing home deaths during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I watched the interview with Charlotte Bennett and it’s just painful, it’s so disturbing,” de Blasio told WNYC’s Brian Lehrer during his weekly appearance on the public radio station’s talk show.
“I find her just 100-percent believable and I feel empathy for what she went through — and she speaks so clearly and powerfully,” he continued. “That never should have happened and I think it’s just profoundly troubling that it did.”
Answering Lehrer’s question about what it would take for him to call on Cuomo to resign, the mayor hesitated a bit before continuing.
“Evidence is mounting,” de Blasio said. “As more evidence comes in, I think it’s just a matter of — we need all the facts, but if the facts continue in this pattern, I don’t see how he goes on.
“I think it’s as simple as that,” he concluded.
De Blasio’s remarks come just hours after Cuomo was hit by new revelations Thursday night in the sexual harassment and nursing home scandals ensnaring him and his administration.
Bennett offered her first televised account of Cuomo’s harassment and allegations that the governor was “grooming” her in a bombshell CBS Evening News interview that landed on the front pages of New York’s biggest newspapers.
Just hours later, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times published new reporting that charged that top figures in his administration manipulated a July report from the state Health Department to downplay the number of coronavirus deaths linked to nursing homes.
A draft of the document seen by The Times showed that experts at the state Health Department initially attempted to include the tally of nursing home residents that died in hospitals. That information was removed after two top Cuomo aides — Melissa DeRosa and Linda Lacewell, the head of the state’s Department of Financial Services — got involved, the paper reported.
The latest reports undermine weeks of claims from Cuomo administration officials that they were unable to provide the press and state lawmakers with the tallies because they were busy responding to requests for information from federal regulators.
However, those requests did not arrive until August, a month after Cuomo officials published the altered Health Department report.
It’s the latest revelation in the nursing home scandal, which reignited last month after The Post obtained a tape of DeRosa — Cuomo’s secretary and most powerful lieutenant — telling state lawmakers that the administration “froze” and then hid information about the true total tally of COVID-19 deaths linked to nursing homes.
Her remarks came after a state judge ruled that state officials were violating the Freedom of Information Law by refusing to provide the data to the Empire Center, a conservative think tank, and ordered the state Health Department to turn over the information.
The records eventually revealed that more than 3,800 nursing home residents died in hospitals from the coronavirus
The state had only been providing the tallies for nursing home residents who died at the facilities, while refusing to provide the count of those who passed away after being taken to a hospital for treatment.