Disgraced Gov. Cuomo’s one-time top aide took a none-too-subtle swipe at his successor Friday evening over her handling of the coronavirus.
“Time to shift with the times — ribbon cuttings and photo ops drinking beers in UES bars maskless won’t get this job done,” Melissa DeRosa, the former secretary to the governor said in a tweet that was later deleted.
The crack was a reference to Gov. Hochul’s recent maskless visit to a crowded Manhattan sports bar in October.
“Thanks to New Yorkers getting vaccinated, @BuffaloBills fans can cheer on our team and enjoy Labatt Blue together again! Keep it up, New York!,” Hochul said in a tweet sharing images of her with a beer in hand. She was joined on the excursion with Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin.
As a former lieutenant governor herself, Hochul would also have been no stranger to ribbon cuttings, and it’s not the first time the line has been used against her by political opponents.
DeRosa also suggested Team Cuomo had been right to centralize control around themselves in Albany to fight the pandemic and chided efforts which have been pushed by Hochul to offer local governments more control over their pandemic response.
“Have been back upstate for 3 days and have to say, the lack of mask wearing is deeply disturbing,” DeRosa said in another Friday tweet. “Food for thought Deferring mask mandates to local governments isn’t ’empowering’ it’s abdicating responsibility,” she added.
DeRosa told The Post on Saturday that she deleted one of the tweets so as not to “distract.”
“[I] communicated my feelings on that in a series of tweets, but thought better of one, which I realized might distract from the actual public health concern and so I deleted it,” DeRosa said.
“Waking up to a post holiday emergency meeting of the WHO over a new rapidly mutating variant combined with the total lack of mask wearing in much of the state is triggering for any New Yorker who lived through March and April of 2020,” she added.
DeRosa’s tweets came as new fears over the Omicron variant risk undermining Hochul’s recent covid COVID IS ALL CAPS triumphalism. It remains unclear how effective current vaccines will be at preventing infection from the new strain.
During her years as Secretary, DeRosa had long been one of Cuomo’s closest and most ferocious defenders, but critics have long accused his administration of botching the state’s response to the crisis. The governor infamously downplayed nursing home COVID deaths at the same time he was writing a book touring his successful response to the pandemic.
“They kept local departments sidelined. They kept regions separated from one another. They withheld data, details and decisions. They lied when they thought they could get away with it and denied local collaboration,” Marc Molinaro, the county executive of Dutchess County told The Post. Molinaro, a Republican ran against Cuomo in the 2018 governor’s race.
“All of this was as absurd and unproductive as it was dangerous and deadly,” Molinaro said.