New York Mayor Bill de Blasio doesn’t like the governor of his state, Andrew Cuomo, very much. The two have had harsh words for each other over the past few years and this year it’s been particularly gruesome to see the two go at it.
They’ve been at each other’s throats over their responses to the pandemic, the riots, the protests, the police, the schools — and sometimes nothing at all. That it’s been a very public spat is unusual, especially since they’re nominally from the same political party.
But now de Blasio definitely has the upper hand. Cuomo is currently embroiled in a scandal involving his incomprehensible response to the pandemic in sending patients sick with a highly contagious disease to nursing homes. At least 15,000 seniors lost their lives in the debacle.
But as with all political crimes, the coverup was worse than the deed. Cuomo tried to hide the number of nursing home deaths he was directly responsible for and withheld documents from the federal government, which was investigating the matter. He told the feds that no more than 8,700 people died.
To make matters worse, Cuomo threatened a backbench New York Democratic assemblyman, Ron Kim, with public destruction if he didn’t change his statement about the nursing home revelations. This only fed the feeding frenzy in the press already underway over the nursing home revelations.
De Blasio’s management of the pandemic in New York City has been incompetent, but the media hasn’t caught him telling a gigantic lie — yet. So the mayor got to go on TV and rub Cuomo’s face in the mud.
“That’s classic Andrew Cuomo. A lot of people in New York state have received those phone calls. The bullying is nothing new,” de Blasio said Thursday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “It’s very, very sad. No public servant, no person who’s telling the truth should be treated that way.”
Cuomo issued a non-denial denial of the incident with Assemblyman Kim. He attacked him, accusing him of unethical behavior in an incident from several years ago.
But de Blasio says he believes Kim “100 percent.”
“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 this state have heard that,” he said. “It’s not a surprise. It’s sad. It’s not the way people should be treated, and a lot of people get intimidated by that. I give [Kim] credit for not being intimidated.”
The two big-league politicians have been acting like a couple of bush-leaguers during this pandemic. You would think that as grown-ups, they’d be able to put aside their stupid, childish rivalry for the good of the people they supposedly represent.
But neither man has shown leadership, much less statesmanship, in addressing the public health crisis of the century. That they’re both Democrats is irrelevant. Their argument is personal, not about ideology or politics.
How many lives have been lost because these two arrogant, ambitious men were unable to work together? One would be too many.