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Bill De Blasio says Gov. Cuomo sexual harassment scandal is distracting him from COVID

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Governor Andrew Cuomo is hiding from the media and public because of the sexual harassment claims against him which is distracting him from the COVID-19 crisis. 

He also said the state should no longer be in charge of New York City‘s vaccine roll-out, saying on Tuesday morning that ‘if you put too much power in one person’s hands, bad things can happen.’ 

It was de Blasio’s latest dig at the embattled governor, who is battling sexual harassment allegations and claims that he covered up the number of people who died from COVID-19 in New York nursing homes. 

De Blasio, after calling again for an independent investigation into the claims against Cuomo, used his Tuesday morning press briefing to criticize the governor again. 

Cuomo – who relished in winning an Emmy for his daily COVID-19 press briefings last year – has not given a public briefing for days and has not done interviews either. 

Instead, he is releasing information to the media through his press office about the state’s COVID-19 numbers and is posting it online. 

On Tuesday, de Blasio said: ‘All leaders have to answer tough questions from the media regardless of whether it’s convenient.

‘The fact is the work we have to do right now is what matters – fighting COVID, bringing the city back, bringing the state back. That’s the work we all need to be focused on. I would say at the same time, a way to move everything forward is to restore local control.

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday

Cuomo on his last public appearance on February 24

Cuomo on his last public appearance on February 24

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Governor Andrew Cuomo is hiding from the media and public because of the sexual harassment claims against him which is distracting him from the COVID-19 crisis. Cuomo is shown, right, during his last public appearance on February 24

‘It should not be all in the hands of one person. 

‘We’re getting a real object lesson for that right now – if you put too much power in one person’s hands, bad things happen.’  

He called on the state to allow local leaders to decide who should get vaccinated and when. 

‘We need local control back all over the state. 

‘We have extraordinary health leadership in cities and counties all over the state who need to be re-empowered to protect their people. We need the freedom to vaccinate.

‘We should not have to go hat in hand to Albany for every letter change when we know those folks providing food need to be vaccinated, sanitation workers need to be vaccinated, the folks who would serve on juries and help restore the justice system need to be vaccinated.

‘The state of New York will not allow me to vaccinate those people. Give us back control,’ he said. 

Charlotte Bennett, 25, accused Cuomo of sexually harassing her during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in his Albany office, including quizzing her about dating older men

Charlotte Bennett, 25, accused Cuomo of sexually harassing her during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in his Albany office, including quizzing her about dating older men

Lindsey Boylan accused him of attempting to kiss her on the mouth in 2018

Lindsey Boylan accused him of attempting to kiss her on the mouth in 2018

Charlotte Bennett (left), 25, accused Cuomo of sexually harassing her during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in his Albany office, including quizzing her about dating older men. Lindsey Boylan (right) accused him of attempting to kiss her on the mouth in 2018

Anna Ruch, now 33, met Andrew Cuomo at her friends' wedding in September 2019. He was photographed cupping her face. She says he asked if he could kiss her

Anna Ruch, now 33, met Andrew Cuomo at her friends' wedding in September 2019. He was photographed cupping her face. She says he asked if he could kiss her

Anna Ruch, now 33, met Andrew Cuomo at her friends’ wedding in September 2019. He was photographed cupping her face. She says he asked if he could kiss her 

Currently, across the state of New York, everyone over the age of 65 can be vaccinated, and people aged 16 and over with one of a litany of health issues can also be vaccinated. 

Some essential workers like healthcare workers, cops, firefighters, grocery store employees, restaurant workers, food delivery workers and public transport workers are also eligible. 

For weeks, there has been no word on when the next batch of people who will become eligible can receive their vaccine. 

The state continues to blame the vaccine shortages on the federal government, which is where it gets its allotment. 

It then dishes out the doses across the state dependent on population size. 

De Blasio claimed on Tuesday morning that more than 2million people had been given their first dose at New York City sites, but he also fumed that 75 percent of the people receiving it at some sites like the Javits Center are not city residents. 

De Blasio also said on Tuesday morning that he has never sexually harassed or abused anyone, and couldn’t imagine ever doing it. 

He has said repeatedly that if the allegations against Cuomo are true, he must step down, and insisted he would never do such a thing as abuse his power for sex.  

Photos taken in September 2016 show New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, 63, getting cozy with his closest aide Melissa DeRosa, 38, at dinner. DeRosa says they have never had an intimate relationship

Photos taken in September 2016 show New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, 63, getting cozy with his closest aide Melissa DeRosa, 38, at dinner. DeRosa says they have never had an intimate relationship

Photos taken in September 2016 show New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, 63, getting cozy with his closest aide Melissa DeRosa, 38, at dinner. DeRosa says they have never had an intimate relationship 

‘The notion of a man taking advantage of his power and office to intimidate a woman in his employment or somehow insinuate that she should have sex with him… that’s disgusting to me.

CUOMO MAY HAVE TO TESTIFY AS PART OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT PROBE

Andrew Cuomo could be ordered to testify under oath in his sexual harassment inquiry after the New York Attorney General was handed full subpoena power.

Independently elected Letitia James will now pick an outside law firm to investigate allegations against the governor.

Those outside investigators could also compel other witnesses to speak and request documents, including emails and text messages.

Calls for Cuomo’s resignation intensified Tuesday after six socialist state lawmakers issued a statement saying he ‘uses his power to belittle, bully and harass his employees and colleagues’. The state legislators called for impeachment proceedings.

New York City Councilman Antonio Reynoso tweeted: ‘The pattern of sexual harassment and predatory behavior by Governor Cuomo is unacceptable, and I believe the women coming forward. Governor Cuomo must resign.’

It all comes after two former aides accused Cuomo of making inappropriate remarks to them; one says he forcibly kissed her. A third woman then said Monday he touched her face and back and asked to kiss her after they met at a wedding.

Cuomo has maintained he had never inappropriately touched or propositioned anyone. He tried to play down the claims in a statement on Sunday, apologizing to the women but insisting they misinterpreted what he considers to be joking.

The harassment allegations come on the heels of accusations the governor covered up the true death COVID-19 death toll in nursing homes.

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‘It’s something not only would I never ever allow it, tolerate it, conceive it being possible in my life or in my staff… I can’t think of any decent human being who would do a thing like that.’ 

Two former aides – Charlotte Bennett and Lindsay Boylan – say Cuomo sexually harassed them when they were working for him. 

On Monday night, a third woman – Anna Ruch, now 33, who worked at the Obama White House and met Cuomo at a wedding in September 2019 – said he asked if he could kiss her. 

A journalist has also come forward to say she quit her job in local news because she was bullied by Cuomo’s team, and a video resurfaced over the weekend of thew governor repeatedly telling a different journalist to ‘eat the whole sausage’ at the New York State Fair in 2016. 

That journalist, Bethany Cefalu, said on Monday that she never felt pressured nor harassed, nor did she think Cuomo was inappropriate. 

On Monday night, Melissa DeRosa – one of his most senior aides – hit back at photos obtained by DailyMail.com which show the pair at dinner, not long after she got married. They appear close in the photos and Cuomo’s hand is placed between them on a booth. 

DeRosa said in a statement to DailyMail.com: ‘There have been misogynistic rumors in Albany and in government for years but I never thought I’d have to respond to them in the press.

‘The Governor and I have never had an intimate relationship. The Governor and I have been close friends and colleagues for over ten years – we’ve had countless meals together and suggestions or innuendo around that is inappropriate, offensive and wrong.’ 

The women who have made allegations against him on banded together in solidarity on Monday night. 

Attorney General Letitia James is appointing a special counsel to investigate the claims after shutting down Cuomo’s suggestion that he could appoint his own. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the claims were ‘credible’ and ‘serious’ earlier this week. 

Six socialist lawmakers in New York are also calling for him to resign. In a letter last night, they said he ‘uses his power to belittle, bully and harass his employees and colleagues’. The state legislators called for impeachment proceedings.

New York City Councilman Antonio Reynoso tweeted: ‘The pattern of sexual harassment and predatory behavior by Governor Cuomo is unacceptable, and I believe the women coming forward. Governor Cuomo must resign.’

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