De Blasio says ‘distracted’ Cuomo isn’t fighting for New York

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday cited New York State’s botching of the rent relief program for struggling tenants amid the COVID-19 pandemic as yet another reason why a “distracted” Gov. Andrew Cuomo should resign.

“A guy who spends 11 hours having to testify about his sexual harassment and assault is not a guy who is focusing on fighting COVID or getting us federal aid, or getting rent relief money to people who need it,” de Blasio said during his daily press briefing.

“The rent relief situation is a very telling example” of Cuomo’s inability to effectively perform his duties as the Empire State’s chief executive, de Blasio said.

“Sometimes people say look at these other states, they don’t do things the same way we do. But 48 other states managed to get their rent relief money out. So for anyone who is saying, ‘Oh, look how great New York State is,’ New York State dropped the ball on rent relief, and one of the reasons must have been a distracted governor,” he said.

Bill de Blasio.
Chuck Schumer.
Getty Images

“It’s time for him to leave.”

Last week, the state released a new application for tenants and landlords seeking federal rental assistance after the governor faced criticism for slow-walking allocation of relief money to New Yorkers at risk of evictions. 

That move came a day after Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) ripped the Cuomo administration’s failure to hand out federal rent relief for renters in need of cash.

“Thousands and thousands of New York tenants could be deprived of critical rent relief checks if the state doesn’t move more quickly on getting this money out,” Schumer said at a press conference on July 25.

Andrew Cuomo.
Tenant rights activists.
Corbis via Getty Images

But the problem still has not yet been resolved, the mayor noted Thursday.

“We’ve got hundreds of thousands of people who need that money, the federal government, sent it to us, it’s still not in the hands of New Yorkers, it’s crazy,” de Blasio said.

Cuomo’s preoccupation with his sexual harassment scandal is “hurting the people of New York City and New York State,” he said. “There’s no question.”

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