Earlier this morning Ed wrote about the bad news for Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The FBI and the U.S. Attorneys office are now looking into his COVID task force and their handling of data during the pandemic. That comes just a day after Democratic Assemblyman Ron Kim accused Cuomo of berating him on the phone for 10 minutes and threatened to “destroy” his career over criticism of the governor’s COVID policy. Cuomo later made good on those threats and spent part of a press briefing making allegations that Kim was illegally soliciting donations from nail salons.
Today, Assemblyman Kim got some support from an unexpected source. Mayor de Blasio told MSNBC’s Morning Joe that the behavior Kim described is classic Cuomo bullying:
“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.”…
De Blasio, who has feuded with Cuomo for years, said he “one hundred percent” believes the lawmaker was threatened and has experienced similar behavior himself.
“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.”
You’ve got to hand it to de Blasio. He picked a perfect moment to stick the knife in Cuomo’s back. He and Cuomo have been feuding over the Coronavirus since last March when there were reports they fought over school closures. In the months that followed, Cuomo became a media star and literally won an Emmy for his “masterful” briefings. Meanwhile, polls showed de Blasio’s approval ratings were barely above water. Now, at least momentarily, Cuomo is in the hot seat and de Blasio is wasting no time in trashing him to the media.
If de Blasio is telling the truth, and in this case I bet he is, then there are probably plenty of other people in New York who can back up his claim, i.e. that the call to Kim is a pretty standard Cuomo script for berating anyone who opposes him. Will anyone else risk confirming it? Not if they hope to work in state politics in the near future.
Yesterday Marc Thiessen made an obvious point. What if Trump had done what Cuomo did, i.e. hide data on COVID deaths then threaten to destroy someone for criticizing him over it. Thiessen wrote, “if Trump had done what Cuomo did? We’d have a third impeachment on our hands.” He’s absolutely right. The fact that Cuomo was instead treated as a hero of the pandemic says a lot about Democrats and the national media.
Here’s the clip of de Blasio throwing Cuomo under the bus. He keeps repeating the phrase “It’s sad” but you may notice he seems to be stifling a smile when he says it.