Mayor de Blasio denies knowing about heated exchange between Dr. Barbot and NYPD Chief over masks for cops

Mayor Bill de Blasio at City Hall. Wednesday, May 13, 2020 in Manhattan New York.
Mayor Bill de Blasio at City Hall. Wednesday, May 13, 2020 in Manhattan New York.(Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

Mayor de Blasio on Friday denied that he was briefed right after a heated exchange in March between two of his top officials over half a million surgical masks that NYPD brass said should go to cops on the front lines.
“I don’t know why I wasn’t informed but I wasn’t informed," Hizzoner said at a press briefing that did not include Health Department Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot.
Barbot and NYPD Chief Terence Monahan got into a heated discussion on March 18 at the height of the coronavirus pandemic when the city’s top cop sent officers to a federal warehouse in New Jersey to commandeer 500,000 surgical masks that the DOH Commissioner was sending to hospital staff crushed by the daily flood of COVID-19 patients. Although the flare-up happened nearly two months ago, news of it only surfaced this week when police unions began to demand Barbot’s ouster.
“I’ve talked to Chief Monahan and I will be speaking to Commissioner Barbot this weekend,” the mayor said.
He and Barbot have maintained regular communication throughout the entire pandemic response in the city, he added. They just hadn’t discussed that particular incident, according to the mayor.
“I’ve been speaking with the commissioner constantly throughout this and I remind you we have a team of health care leaders and I’m speaking to any number of them each and every day," he added. "A couple days ago was the last time I talked to the commissioner, and again we’re going to have a more detailed discussion this weekend. This has been going on for months now, we’ve all been communicating constantly.”
During her dust-up with Monahan, Barbot allegedly told the NYPD chief she didn’t give “two rat’s asses” about his cops, according to several sources. She later apologized to Monahan and the two made peace, a DOH spokesman said Wednesday night.
The six-week-old fight only came to light this week, just as a longstanding power struggle between the mayor and DOH broke into the open.
The curious timing of the leak — which prompted a rabid response from the city’s police unions — suggested an orchestrated political hit at a commissioner who had fallen out of favor with the mayor, said several City Hall insiders and law enforcement sources.

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