Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s triumphant lifting of the state’s coronavirus restrictions — and the ensuing fireworks across the state — were part of a cynical ploy to burnish his image amid a damaging series of scandals, the head of the state Republican Party charged Thursday.
“This is not Andrew Cuomo’s moment to celebrate,” GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy told The Post.
“This is a time that we should celebrate modern medicine, the people who worked on the front lines every day and the people who put their own lives in harm’s way.”
Langworthy even said he preferred the way Mayor Bill de Blasio — like Cuomo, a Democrat — chose to mark New York reaching the milestone of a 70 percent vaccination rate against COVID-19.
“I’ve got to give Bill de Blasio credit, he scheduled a ticker-tape parade and I think that’s a good way to celebrate front-line workers,” he said during a phone interview.
“But to have three hours’ notice for fireworks? It’s a way for Cuomo to celebrate himself and get media reports to celebrate the administration.”
Langworthy also called a recent report from the New York State Bar Association, “yet another source” showing that Cuomo and his aides have been “lying all the time” about the administration’s handling of nursing homes amid the pandemic.
The report — exclusively revealed by The Post — blasted the Department of Health’s “now infamous” March 25, 2020, order for the facilities to accept COVID-19 patients, citing “credible reviews that suggest that the directive, for the approximately six weeks that it was in effect, did lead to some number of additional deaths.”
“You have an independent source that agrees that this deadly policy cost New Yorkers’ lives,” Langworthy said.
“We have 15,000 seniors dead and the governor lied about it and his subordinates covered it up.”
Langworthy added: “We’ve had pretty clear obstruction of justice.”
Cuomo’s nursing home policies are the subject of a probe by the FBI and the Brooklyn US Attorney’s Office, as well as an impeachment investigation by the state Assembly Judiciary Committee.
Both of those probes are also focused on Cuomo’s memoir, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic” — which he sold for $5.1 million.
A series of sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo by current and former female aides is also being investigated by outside lawyers hired by Attorney General Letitia James and by the Judiciary Committee.
Cuomo has denied any wrongdoing and the DOH issued a report last year denying that the March 25 directive increased the death toll among nursing home residents and instead blaming the spread of infections on asymptomatic workers.
During his interview, Langworthy also criticized the impeachment probe, saying it should have been “open and shut” long ago.
The Judiciary Committee has held just three meetings since Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) authorized the impeachment probe in March, and the Democrat-controlled legislature recessed for the summer last week.
“They hire a law firm that’s very cozy under Andrew Cuomo and has a history of being cozy,” Langworthy said.
“But they run out of town, with no fanfare … They need to head to the exits because they don’t want to deal with what they left on the table.”
Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi called Langworthy the “No. 1 cheerleader in New York” for ex-President Donald Trump and accused him of “trying to cynically rewrite history to protect his benefactor.
“He should be ashamed but isn’t capable of it,” Azzopardi added.
Requests for comment from Heastie’s office were not immediately returned.
Metro | New York Post