Cuomo Crisis in New York

When petitions began circulating to recall California Governor, Gavin Newsom, it was a hit to the Democratic Party. In Newsom, they had a young star who was initially praised in media and by his peers as taking a strong, proactive approach to the Covid-19 pandemic. But as the months dragged on, little improvement seemed to be made on the California health front and restrictions only got tighter. Then Californians had enough. Now, there are over 2 million signatures against the governor and a second scandal has begun to rock another early-Covid hero of the Democratic Party.

Governor Andrew Cuomo had his praises sung for much of last year for his response to the pandemic in New York state. Despite having one of the highest death rates in the country, he was lavished with endless praise, an Emmy Award, and a book deal hawking his supposed masterclass in leadership, albeit while much of the state was suffering under his edicts. Governor Cuomo mandated the placement of infected elderly Covid patients into nursing homes, killing thousands, and ordered the information to be covered up, according to new allegations. While this egregious act should be enough to have him investigated, a twin scandal has unfolded involving his alleged sexual harassment of multiple women.

At the moment there are five women, including former staffers, who have stepped forward accusing the Governor of unwanted sexual attention. Accusations include unwanted touching, kissing, and harassing comments. One such accuser, and former aide, Charlotte Bennett, alleges that “the governor inquired about her sex life and asked her if she would be amenable to having a relationship with an older man,” according to The Daily Wire. According to another accuser, Lindsey Boylan, Cuomo had a habit of aggressive propositioning, when he bluntly suggested, “let’s play strip poker,” while returning from a trip on a state-owned airplane.

For all the drama surrounding him, Cuomo remains defiant. Indeed, his handsy advances on women he works with is a symptom of his Italian heritage, not of any potentially serial wrongdoing. As noted by The Washington Examiner, “He tried to defend his penchant for kissing people with the ultimate Cuomo get-out-of-jail-free card (blame being Italian and invoking his father Mario) while asserting he ‘never touched anyone inappropriately.’” For Cuomo, this is all just one big misunderstanding and generational gap about personal space. He apologizes if he made anyone uncomfortable, but he’s not going anywhere. “Wait for the facts before you form an opinion.”

The accusations surrounding Cuomo have created a firestorm, leaving many on both sides of the aisle to call for his resignation and questioning his ability to effectively lead New Yorkers. For those who see the sexual harassment accusations as another #MeToo moment for the Democrats, Cuomo must go. This includes fellow Democrat and New York City Mayor, Bill De Blasio. “I just don’t see how he could govern effectively when fewer and fewer people believe him.” Republican Congressman from New York, Lee Zeldin, has joined the chorus and is now actively mulling a run to challenge Cuomo in the next general election for governor. “After his nursing home cover-up, bullying, abuse and harassment have come more to light in recent days and weeks, it’s clearer now more than ever that he’s been in the Governor’s office too long and it’s time for Cuomo to go.”In the meantime, Cuomo has now become the target of a special investigation out of New York Attorney General Leticia James’ office, and Republicans in the New York State House have announced a resolution of impeachment against him. As this story develops, Cuomo may soon find himself out of a job.

Grassroots Pulse covers public policy and political issues aimed at engaging highly-active policy makers, donors, and grassroots leaders at the forefront of the political process in America today.

Image Credit: Photo by Christopher Czermaka on Unsplash

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