Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “bullying” of Assemblyman Ron Kim is par for the course, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio, who said Thursday that he knows “a lot of other people in the state” on the receiving end of the governor’s ire.
“It’s a sad thing to say, Mika, but that’s classic Andrew Cuomo,” de Blasio told Mika Brzezinski Thursday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
The host asked Hizzoner to weigh in on Cuomo’s alleged threats to “destroy” Kim if he didn’t change a public statement related to the nursing home scandal.
De Blasio — who has publicly feuded with the governor, including during the COVID-19 crisis — said Cuomo’s reaction was nothing new.
“A lot of people in New York state have received those phone calls,” de Blasio said. “The bullying is nothing new. 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.
“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 that have heard that.”
Kim said the allegedly threatening phone call from Cuomo came on Feb. 11, a day after secretary to the governor Melissa DeRosa’s stunning admission in a conference call with lawmakers that the state withheld the true death toll of nursing home residents out of fear it would be “used against us” in a federal probe.
Cuomo allegedly called Kim warning him, “You have not seen my wrath” as he demanded Kim issue a statement to say that “Melissa DeRosa said there was a federal investigation and they had to deal with that first.”
“I can tell the whole world what a bad person you are and you will be finished,” Kim recalled Cuomo saying.
“You will be destroyed.”
Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi accused Kim of “lying about his conversation” with the governor, denying that threats were ever exchanged.
Asked about de Blasio’s name-calling, Azzopardi referred to his 800-word statement from Wednesday.