Governor Cuomo Awaits His Fate
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is facing an impeachment inquiry and investigations amid calls for his resignation from top state Democrats following a litany of scandals including multiple sexual misconduct accusations and grossly underreporting COVID-19 deaths of New York state nursing home residents.
Multiple women have come forward with sexual misconduct allegations against the Governor, ranging from lewd comments and inappropriate questions to non-consensual kissing and groping.
Lindsey Boylan, a former Cuomo administration official, was the first woman to say Cuomo sexually harassed her in a series of tweets on December 13th, 2020. “I could never anticipate what to expect: would I be grilled about my work (which was very good) or harassed about my looks. Or would it be both in the same conversation? This was the same way for years,” Boylan posted.
Governor Cuomo denied these allegations. “I believe a woman has the right to come forward and express issues and concerns that she has,” he said in a press conference on December 14th, 2020.“But it’s just not true.” He denied the claims again in a press conference held in March
In late February of 2021, a second woman came forward saying Cuomo sexually harassed her, and by mid-March, a total of nine women, including one anonymous reporter, had accused the Governor of sexual misconduct.
With a growing number of complaints against Cuomo, the majority of the congressional delegation from New York—including its most high-profile members like Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY)—have called on the Governor to resign. “Due to the multiple, credible, sexual harassment and misconduct allegations, it is clear that Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of his governing partners and the people of New York,” Senators Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand said in a joint statement.
Governor Cuomo referred to the calls for his resignation from 16 of the 19 House Democrats for the state and its two Democratic senators as “cancel culture” and said he won’t be bowing to it.
Cuomo’s impeachment inquiry has two main points of interest; the first being the sexual misconduct allegations and what has been dubbed the ‘nursing home scandal’ as the second.
Last spring, Cuomo faced criticism from families affected by policies that required nursing homes to take back residents who were recovering from COVID-19. The Cuomo administration maintained this policy in order to free up hospital beds, but in doing so drew concern that vulnerable nursing home residents would become exposed to a greater risk of coronavirus.
A report released by the New York State Health Department concluded this policy didn’t cause a spike in coronavirus cases for nursing home residents.
But in late January 2021, the New York attorney general Letitia James reported that the Cuomo administration had failed to record over 3,800 deaths of nursing home residents who died in hospitals and weren’t included in the original count.
While Cuomo allegedly had his aides undercount the number of nursing home resident deaths, he was also writing a book titled American Crisis: Leadership and Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic.
A year ago, Andrew Cuomo was hailed as a hero of the pandemic. Daytime television hosts referred to themselves as “Cuomo-sexuals,” he won an Emmy for his coronavirus press conferences, and even had some Presidential buzz in the late spring. But corruption and sexual misconduct accusations led the man once lauded as the greatest leader through the COVID-19 crisis to become one of the most isolated political figures in the country.
Cuomo’s approval rating has dropped almost 30 points in the last year; from a near all-time high of 72% in May of 2020 to just 46% today. The next few months are perhaps the most critical of his career, as his political future hinges on an impeachment inquiry and investigations out of his control. While Cuomo is yet to announce plans to seek reelection, he may not even have that option as momentum grows behind an impeachment.
Democratic Assemblyman Charles Lavine provided updates on April 16, stating the committee is set to meet next week and still reviewing “reports relating to the publishing of the governor’s memoir last year” amongst other topics. The committee has sent a formal request to Cuomo asking he does not retaliate against any witnesses involved in the probe.
The unthinkable has become reality in New York, as a once untouchable political force can only sit and wait, along with New York and the rest of the nation, and see what happens to him next.