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NY Gov. Hochul suggests on ‘The View’ that Cuomo did not warn her before resignation; his team disputes account

NEW YORK — New York Gov. Hochul visited “The View” on Wednesday, touting her efforts to tackle crime during her 30-month governorship, defending a polarizing new subway safety plan and offering a new account of her rise to the post.

Wearing a green jacket four days ahead of St. Patrick’s Day, Hochul — a Catholic with deep Irish roots — suggested on the popular TV program that her former boss Gov. Andrew Cuomo did not give her advance notice before he announced his resignation in the summer of 2021. Members of Cuomo’s inner circle promptly disputed Hochul’s account.

Cuomo, who was driven from office by a double-digit tally of sexual harassment allegations, had a chilly relationship with Hochul, who was serving as his lieutenant when he resigned. He denies the harassment allegations.

Cuomo’s exit elevated Hochul to governor.

“I found out with the rest of the nation that I’d be governor,” Hochul, a Democrat and the first woman to serve as New York’s governor, told “The View.” “I didn’t get any advance warning. We kind of thought something could happen, but I officially learned by watching national television.”

Rich Azzopardi, Cuomo’s spokesman, said the former governor’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, called Hochul in advance of the announcement to inform her of the news. He said Hochul’s claim on ABC was “untrue.”

“Good luck to everyone in budget negotiations if that’s how she views reality,” Azzopardi said by phone. Hochul is currently engaged in talks with lawmakers ahead of an April 1 deadline to hammer out the next budget.

DeRosa also said she had called Hochul before Cuomo’s announcement, and recalled that Cuomo made the decision the night before he pulled the plug on his governorship in August 2021.

“Never let the truth get in the way of a good story,” DeRosa said, referring to Hochul.

A third member of the Cuomo administration, Stephanie Benton, backed DeRosa’s account, saying that she was in the room during the call ahead of the resignation announcement.

Hochul did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the version of events outlined by Cuomo’s team.

On “The View,” Hochul also celebrated violent crime rates that have been falling in the city and statewide. And she responded to criticism over her plan to send 750 National Guard soldiers into the subway system to check bags.

Hochul has said the plan will make commuters feel safer after an increase in transit crime. But critics have said it will do the opposite, reinforcing concerns that the subway is unsafe.

“I’m not buying it,” Hochul said of the criticism. “My job is to keep people safe. Anyway I can, I’m going to keep New Yorkers safe. And I’ll tell you who does show appreciation for it: The people out there on the streets.”

Joy Behar, a co-host on “The View” and a Democrat, expressed frustration about New York’s bail laws, which she suggested were allowing criminals to return to the streets to perpetrate more crimes.

Hochul, who used last year’s contentious budget negotiations with the left-leaning Legislature to toughen New York’s bail laws, said she allowed the talks to go past the deadline to gain “more leverage” on bail. The budget ultimately came a month late.

“Last year, I held up the budget; I got the changes I needed,” Hochul said. “Judges now have discretion — they can look at the whole issue.”

The governor has not reinserted bail reform — an issue that sharply divides Democrats — into this year’s budget talks. The party is seeking to project unity going into a pivotal election.

She underscored Tuesday that the changes are new and still being felt. She indicated on “The View” that she might be open to further tweaking bail laws in the future.

“But I changed the law,” Hochul told the program. “It only went into effect last May.”

The appearance was Hochul’s first on “The View” since she became governor.