WATCH: NYC Mayoral Candidate Andrew Yang Calls on Cuomo to Step Aside, Lays Out Plans for City’s Recovery
By Lynda Lopez, WCBS Newsradio 880
NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Andrew Yang, the leading candidate for mayor of New York City, is concerned local government is handicapped while state lawmakers in Albany investigate the mounting claims of sexual harassment and assault against Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
New York State Attorney General Letitia James and the feds are also investigating whether Cuomo intentionally underreported COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes.
Yang has sent a letter to Cuomo asking him to step aside while the investigations play out and he believes that remains the best path forward.
“We need someone who can do the work of the state and right now that does not seem to be Gov. Cuomo,” Yang said. “I sent a letter asking him to step aside and have the lieutenant governor assume that role pending the conclusion of the investigation, I think that’s the right move, I think that would make everyone feel satisfied that there is someone who is able to lead the state, frankly, not distracted by a continuous drumbeat of accusations and scandals.”
In a wide-ranging interview for the 880 Weekly Rewind, the entrepreneur and former presidential candidate told anchor Lynda Lopez that the governor and his scandals have become a distraction and are getting in the way of the city’s recovery.
“The job of the mayor is to deliver for the people of New York City and in order to deliver for the people of New York City, you need to have a good working relationship with the governor and the legislators in Albany. If you don’t have that, then you can’t deliver at high a level,” Yang said. “I talked to a state legislator last night and he said that obviously everything is focused right now on these proceedings against the governor and a lot of other business. Ordinarily right now they’d be focused on the budget, which is enormously important, but that’s not happening right now. So the interests of the city and the state are aligned in the sense that the city is the economic engine of the state, but we need state legislators to be doing their jobs in order for us to be able to do our jobs so it’s one reason why I think Gov. Cuomo stepping aside is the right thing because we need them focused on the business of the state and that affects the city every day.”
Cuomo on Friday again denied the sexual harassment allegations and insisted that he would not resign, despite growing calls from both political opponents and allies to do so.
The governor said he doesn’t want to let the allegations be a distraction, and will remain focused on the state budget, the state’s recovery, and ramping up vaccination efforts.
With his sights set on Gracie Mansion, Yang is fully focused on jumpstarting the economy and bringing the city back.
“We’re down 60 million tourists and those 60 million tourists supported 300,000 jobs, about half of the jobs we’re missing, so the first order is business is to let everyone know that New York City is open, that we’re welcoming tourists back,” Yang said. “The second thing that everyone can also see around us is we’re missing 82% of commuters and when someone doesn’t come into the office, that’s not just that company, that’s the security guards, the cleaning staff, the food truck operators, the retail storefronts that ordinarily serve those commuters. We need to let companies have the confidence to say to their workers, ‘You need to come back to the office’ because that’s vital for New York City’s recovery.”
Yang said that he’s been talking to CEOs who are desperate to get people back as soon as the vaccine is distributed broadly enough.
But that will require building public confidence that it’s safe to come back and Yang said the best way to accomplish that is by letting people know that everyone around them has been fully vaccinated.
“There are two straightforward possibilities number one is to have an app on your smartphone that’s a vaccine passport,” Yang said. “Israel, which is actually ahead of us on this curve, has actually started distributing bracelets to people where you just have the bracelet and you show the bracelet. It’s like New York City is the biggest VIP section of a club in history where you get the bracelet so you can walk on in. But that’s the kind of measure that we need to adopt and champion for people to feel confident that they’re perfectly safe cause everyone around them has already been vaccinated.”
Neil A. Carousso produces The 880 Weekly Rewind with Lynda Lopez Friday nights at 7 PM on WCBS Newsradio 880. Listen to this week’s full show on the media player above.