New York Daily News
Gov gives vax pep talk as budget, scandals drag on
ALBANY — As budget negotiations stretch days past deadline and scandals engulf his administration, Gov. Cuomo again surrounded himself with supporters Monday and spoke about COVID vaccination efforts.
In his home borough, the governor (inset) was lauded by local elected officials, including Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Queens, Nassau) at the opening of a popup vaccination site in Rochdale Village in southeast Queens.
“We are doing everything we can to do this equitably and fair.
We are bringing the vaccines to the Black community, to the Latino community, 189 popup vaccine sites in communities of color,” Cuomo said to applause.
Cuomo has hosted several similarly press-free events featuring political allies in recent weeks as multiple women, including current staffers, have come forward with claims of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior.
With vaccine eligibility opening up to all New Yorkers older than 16 starting Tuesday, the governor remains focused on defeating COVID and encouraging minorities to get immunized.
He announced the “Roll Up Your Sleeve” campaign, a new initiative to encourage Black and Latino residents to sign up for a coronavirus shot as more sites open and doses become more widely available.
Neither Cuomo, nor Meeks, the chairman of the Queens County Democratic Party, made any mention of the state attorney general investigation into the governor’s conduct or the impeachment inquiry being conducted by the Assembly.
The governor is also facing a federal probe into allegations that top state officials intentionally withheld the true number of coronavirus deaths in nursing homes during the pandemic. Questions have also been raised about VIP testing access granted to Cuomo’s friends and family early on in the crisis when supplies were scarce.
“We forget that the administration in Washington, D.C., did not have a clue, or if they did, they were not telling us the truth as to what was going on,” Meeks said. “[Cuomo] was going to doctors and scientists and as they were changing what they were saying, as they started realizing, he would come and give us that information on the spot.
“Information that we need to try to move forward to save lives because around the world, we did not know, we had never seen anything like this in 100 years . ... We owe him a deep debt of thanks and gratitude,” he added.
Cuomo’s recent appearances, including a Harlem event late last month during which the governor himself was vaccinated, have had the air of campaign rallies albeit with COVID recovery-themed stump speeches. Dozens of lawmakers, including a large number of Cuomo’s fellow Democrats, have called on the governor to resign.
“We are now in the season of renewal and we have to make it a season of renewal — it doesn’t just happen,” he continued. “Renewal requires effort. You have to see a different reality and you have to make it happen, and that’s where we are now.”