Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D-NY) “vaccine czar” made phone calls to county officials over the past two weeks to see how loyal they were to the governor amid investigation over several sexual harassment claims against him, according to a report.
Larry Schwartz, who is in charge of New York’s vaccine rollout, called one Democrat county official who told the Washington Post the call was so unsettling they informed the public integrity unit of the New York state attorney general’s office.
“At best, it was inappropriate,” the unidentified official told the Post. “At worst, it was clearly over the ethical line.”
Schwartz, who is working as a volunteer for the state’s vaccine distribution, admitted he called the county officials but did so as a friend of Cuomo and did not discuss vaccines with them.
“I did have conversations with a number of County Executives from across the State to ascertain if they were maintaining their public position that there is an ongoing investigation by the State Attorney General and that we should wait for the findings of that investigation before drawing any conclusions,” he wrote in an emailed statement to the Post.
Several public officials said they feared retribution from the Cuomo administration if they spoke out, while others called the calls “politics as usual.”
The report comes as Cuomo’s staffers are not showing up to work out of protest and lawmakers such as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) are calling on Cuomo to resign as sexual harassment claims against him increase.
Despite the protests and calls for him to resign, Cuomo has refused to do so twice, blaming “cancel culture” for the uproar against him.