Gov. Andrew Cuomo's "vaccine czar" Larry Schwartz has reportedly reached out to elected officials to gauge their support for Cuomo. According to The New York Times reporting, Schwartz called at least two Democratic county officials to ask about their support of the embattled governor, before pivoting to a discussion on vaccine distribution. One of the executive's legal counsel filed a preliminary complaint with the state attorney general’s office’s public integrity bureau about a possible ethics violation by the governor’s office.
“That’s the definition of corruption,” Mayor Bill de Blasio reacted on Monday.
“I’ll tell you something, he better not call me because I'll tell him what he can do with that,” the mayor added. “No, it's unacceptable and we are not going to stand for it. And if we see any effort to reduce the vaccine supply to New York City as political retribution, we will bring it right out in the open."
Senate Republican leader Rob Ortt agrees and has sent a letter with members of the Republican Conference to New York Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand urging Washington to take control of New York's vaccine distribution in light of the "disturbing" reports.
NEW: @SenatorOrtt & #NYSenateGOP call on Washington to step up & take control of NY vaccine distribution following explosive reports of @NYGovCuomo admin's politicization of the program.— NYS Senate Republicans (@nysenategop) March 15, 2021
READ THE RELEASE: pic.twitter.com/RiS4ZGNkg7
Schwartz and the Cuomo administration are pushing back against the phone call claims.
“All decisions regarding vaccines are done based on public health considerations, not politics,” Schwartz said in response to the brewing scandal.
A poll conducted last week by Siena College Research Institute reveals that only 35 percent of New York voters want Gov. Cuomo to resign. How much would the polling change when this third scandal gets more attention?