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Cuomo and de Blasio feud made COVID tough for NY

They are the poisonous twins of New York politics!

The dysfunctional relationship between former Gov. Andrew Cuomo and former Mayor Bill de Blasio has hampered the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the city’s former health commissioner Dave Chokshi revealed in a stunning new interview published online.

The mild-mannered doctor offered a candid diagnosis of Democratic politicians’ penchant for bitter arguments — even as a deadly virus ravaged New York.

“That was a significant problem,” Chokshi said.

“There were moments when my frustration at not being able to advance public health policy for New Yorkers could be directly related to the toxicity of that relationship.”

Chokshi said the fights between de Blasio and Cuomo – who had feuded publicly for years prior to the pandemic – essentially boiled down to “who had the authority to do what.”

The worst moment, Chokshi said, came in December 2020 when he and de Blasio held a press conference to announce the first-ever coronavirus vaccination program for city police officers and other first responders.

“The governor had a press conference less than an hour later and said the mayor and I have no authority to do that,” he recalled.

Chokshi said so "toxicity" between the mayor and the governor prevented him from advancing public health policy.
Chokshi said the “toxicity” between the mayor and the governor is preventing him from advancing public health policy.
Lev Radin/Pacific Press via ZUMA Press Wire

“Then I received a very angry call to let me know in no uncertain terms that I would be held responsible for violating state law if we proceeded with vaccinating first responders.”

Chokshi added, “It’s ridiculous to think that instead of sorting things out, our officials are devoting time to actually moving forward with our responsibilities during a pandemic.”

Chokshi, who resigned in March, became the city’s health commissioner in August 2020 after Dr. Oxiris Barbot, who resigned in a letter expressing her “deep disappointment” with de Blasio’s handling of the pandemic.

In March 2021, amid the sexual harassment scandal that later forced Cuomo’s resignation in August, de Blasio announced that he had given up working with the governor on the pandemic and that his political nemesis was “doing everyone a favor and going to.” devil should get out of the way.”

Chokshi said Cuomo and de Blasio's issues boiled down to Chokshi saying the fights between de Blasio and Cuomo - who had been publicly feuding for years prior to the pandemic - basically boiled down to this "who had the authority to do what."
Chokshi said Cuomo and de Blasio’s issues basically boiled down to “who had the authority to do what.”
AP Photo/Kevin Hagen, file

Cuomo retaliated by declaring that anyone who succeeds de Blasio as mayor “is going to be better by definition,” adding, “It’s hard for me to work with an administration that’s hyper-political and incompetent.”

Chokshi made his remarks during a June 17 webinar moderated by David Sandman, president and CEO of the nonprofit New York Health Foundation, where Chokshi is a visiting fellow.

Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi said of Chokshi, “I’m not sure what he’s talking about, but at the time we had extremely limited vaccine supplies from the federal government and clear state guidelines that prioritized frontline healthcare workers.”

“The City Hall has consistently failed in this fundamental responsibility and instead of concentrating on the task at hand, they threw everything against the wall to change the subject and divert attention from their incompetence,” Azzopardi added.

De Blasio, who is now seeking a seat in the House of Representatives, said: “Dr. Dave Chokshi has been a civic saint by every measure and a vital partner in navigating our city through COVID. The threats he faced were outrageous.”

https://nypost.com/2022/06/27/ex-health-commissioner-cuomo-de-blasio-feud-made-covid-hard-on-ny/ Cuomo and de Blasio feud made COVID tough for NY

JACLYN DIAZ

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