Ex-NYC health boss slams former Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Bill de Blasio’s ‘dysfunctional relationship’
Former New York Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi said the “toxicity” of the relationship between ex-Governor Andrew Cuomo and ex-Mayor Bill de Blasio directly interfered with public health policy during the pandemic that was put in place to save lives.
“It was a big deal,” Choksi said in a June 17 interview with the New York Health Foundation, a private nonprofit.
“There were times when my frustration at not being able to advance public health policies for New Yorkers could be directly related to the toxicity of that relationship.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has called for a blue-ribbon commission to investigate State Governor Andrew Cuomo over his alleged nursing home cover-up.
The soft-spoken Chokshi stepped into his role and led the city through its worst public health crisis in 100 years after his predecessor Dr. Orixis Barbot stopped in no time five months after the pandemic.
Barbot argued under De Blasio’s leadership, and the two bickered over the mayor’s decision to remove contact tracing responsibilities from her department.
The mild-mannered Chokshi seemed more in tune with the mayor’s wishes and even spoke of the importance of “humility” when working with politicians to make public health choices, but even he had trouble navigating the power struggle between Cuomo and de Blasio.
Former New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi, pictured here, said feud between Andrew Cuomo and Bill de Blasio was a ‘significant issue’
De Blasio said he wondered “how many lives would have been saved” if Cuomo had approached nursing homes differently?
“There was a moment that you remember during our vaccination campaign, when you know that one of the ways the governor and mayor didn’t get along was around authority — who had the authority to do what,” the former said. Commissioner.
In December 2020, De Blasio and Chokshi held a press conference to announce that the first vaccines would be administered to frontline workers such as police and nurses in the city.
“The governor said at a news conference less than an hour later that the mayor and I didn’t have the authority to do that,” the doctor said.
Chokshi said Cuomo’s office called him afterward to threaten him.
“I received a very furious phone call letting me know in no uncertain terms that I would be held responsible for violating state law if we continued to vaccinate first responders,” he recalled.
“It’s ridiculous to think our officials are spending time on that instead of sorting things out so we can actually move forward with our responsibilities during a pandemic.”
Cuomo and de Blasio worked together in the Clinton administration, but became political rivals after their election
New Yorkers became familiar with the animosity between de Blasio and Cuomo early in the mayor’s first term.
Both men worked for the Clinton administration officials, but as politicians, they both sought the limelight.
Cuomo appropriated de Blasio’s signature Universal Pre-K plan and took credit for financing it shortly after the mayor was elected.
The governor also bickered about reactions to the snowstorm and the tax plan, often holding last-minute press conferences with the mayor, often with conflicting information.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio reprimanded Andrew Cuomo for ‘bullying’ a state legislator who claimed the governor threatened to ‘destroy’ him unless he helped cover up the COVID-19 scandal in nursing homes
De Blasio appeared to be enjoying Cuomo’s demise after a sexual harassment scandal forced the former governor to resign.
The ex-mayor said Cuomo should “do everyone a favor and get out of the way.” De Blasio also called for a special government commission to examine Cuomo’s nursing home policies in response to the pandemic.
The ex-governor was found to have underestimated the number of deaths in nursing homes, which could be linked to his decision to force residents to stay in nursing homes after they were found to have contracted Covid.
Cuomo’s spokesman said he could not recall anyone contacting Chokshi about the vaccines.
“I’m not sure what he’s talking about, but at the time we had an extremely limited vaccine supply from the federal government and clear state guidelines that prioritized primary care workers,” Cuomo spokesperson Rich Azzopardi told the United States. New York Post†
“The City Hall kept failing to fulfill this fundamental responsibility and instead of focusing on the task ahead, they threw everything against the wall to change the subject and divert attention from their ineptitude,” he said. .
During the height of the pandemic, morgues and funeral homes were overrun with corpses
De Blasio, who is running for the US House of Representatives, took the opportunity to dig again in Cuomo.
‘Dr. Dave Chokshi was in every way a civic saint and an extremely important partner in helping our city navigate COVID. The threats he faced were outrageous,” his campaign told the Post.
The ex-Commissioner said he sometimes went behind the backs of politicians and worked with his colleagues in the state to get things done.
“There were times when I reached out to the state health commissioner, both for Dr. [Harold] Zucker and then Dr. [Mary] bassett [former and current New York State Health Commissioners] to say look, it’s part of our responsibility to try to take the relationship between our bosses and do what’s right you know on behalf of the New Yorkers,” he said.