August 11, 2021

Cuomo Resigns

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation Tuesday over a barrage of sexual harassment allegations… the 63-year-old Democrat emphatically denied intentionally mistreating women and called the pressure for his ouster politically motivated. But he said that fighting back in this ‘too hot’ political climate would subject the state to months of turmoil.” AP News

Both sides celebrate Cuomo’s resignation but condemn his lack of contrition:

“The Democratic governor of New York spent the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic criticizing Donald Trump’s deadly incompetence in televised briefings, spinning his own allegedly proficient performance into a book deal and a cable-news celebration of his leadership heroics. In truth, Cuomo’s administration was slow to confront the threat and oversaw a botched nursing-home policy that made vulnerable facilities accept coronavirus patients from hospitals. As of Monday, New York had the second-highest COVID death rate in the country…

“In 2019, Cuomo signed changes to New York’s sexual-harassment law that purportedly showed his commitment to eradicating an ‘ongoing, persistent culture’ of abuse against women. ‘Let’s honor the women who have had the courage to come forward and tell their story,’ he said. Two years later, when the governor was asked to address multiple accusations of sexual harassment against him, he was permissive of his own conduct. ‘If I just made you feel uncomfortable, that is not harassment, that is you feeling uncomfortable,’ he said at a press conference in May… It’s now clear that Andrew Cuomo never intended to live by the same standards to which he held others.”
Zak Cheney-Rice, New York Magazine

“Cuomo still doesn’t think he did anything wrong… Cuomo’s news conference was a senseless smorgasbord of excuses in which everyone else was at fault except him. In addition to blaming the victims, he blamed the media, the justice system, his political opponents, his heritage, his sense of humor, and what he called ‘generational and cultural shifts that I just didn’t appreciate.’ Right. The guy who signed a new law on sexual harassment was oblivious to the meaning of that law…  

Cuomo is a lawyer by training. He once served as New York’s attorney general. The notion that he didn’t comprehend the laws that prohibit sexual harassment is ludicrous. The obvious truth is that Cuomo thought he was so special that he was above the law and could disregard it with impunity to satisfy his own sexual gratification.”
Gregg Jarrett, Fox News

“Cuomo left as he governed. There was denial: ‘I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances.’ There was deflection, such as his complaints that female managers are held to a ‘double standard.’ There was whining about ‘a superheated, if not toxic political environment.’…

“There was chutzpah: ‘for those who are using this moment to score political points or seek publicity or personal gain, I say they actually discredit the legitimate sexual-harassment victims that the law was designed to protect.’ And, of course, there was dishonesty to the very end celebrating the ‘progress’ of his administration against the COVID pandemic…

“The side of Cuomo on display at the end – the sleazy authoritarianism, the rank dishonesty and self-aggrandizement, the contempt for everyone’s interests but his own – was always obvious to even casual observers. Jake Tapper memorably described Cuomo’s personality in 2002: ‘the regrettable fact for Cuomo was that to a sizable number of voters he seemed like an a**hole.’ The voters were right the first time.”
The Editors, National Review

“Among the many casualties of the Trump era are a lost sense of shame among public figures and a lost sense of accountability. Whether it’s Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) or Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) or Donald Trump himself, the answer to political scandal now is to tough it out. In polls, both Democratic and Republican voters prioritize accountability in elected officials, but in practice, they seldom get it…

“Cuomo made a feint toward responsibility, acknowledging that ‘I truly offended’ 11 women, ‘and for that I deeply, deeply apologize.’ But he was just joking! He meant it to be nice! ‘In my mind, I’ve never crossed the line with anyone,’ he said. ‘But I didn’t realize the extent to which the line has been redrawn. There are generational and cultural shifts that I just didn’t fully appreciate and I should have. No excuses.’ But the bulk of his resignation speech was, well, excuses… [Cuomo’s] forced resignation is probably the best result for New York and for the principle that public figures should be accountable. But it’s a pity he couldn’t do it with more dignity.”
Dana Milbank, Washington Post

Other opinions below.

See past issues

From the Left

“Here’s the truth that’s hard to say aloud: if the New York governor had not been a sex pest, he likely would have gotten away with hiding thousands of people’s deaths in nursing homes and shielding his health care industry donors from any liability — all while profiting off a $5 million book deal and being venerated by liberals and corporate media outlets as a shining star…

“We live in an era of politicians screaming ‘law and order’ while they champion corporate immunity, authorize ethics waivers, and oversee law enforcement machines that have reduced prosecutions of political corruption and white-collar crime. This is a bipartisan affair — at the federal level, there’s a continuous theme from George W. Bush loading up his administration with corporate cronies, to Barack Obama refusing to prosecute a single banker involved in the financial crisis, to Donald Trump’s lawless rampage through Washington…

“It’s great that Cuomo is leaving, but make no mistake: his legacy of lawlessness lives on.”
David Sirota, Jacobin Magazine

Regarding policy, “During his 11 years in power, [Cuomo] muscled unions, wealthy donors, and lawmakers to block whatever the progressive bloc in Albany tried to achieve… As recently as 2016, otherwise left-leaning unions such as 1199 SEIU, eager to appease the powerful governor, contributed to Republicans and whipped votes against Democrats… Whatever the progressives decide to prioritize next, they will act knowing one enormous impediment is gone for good.”
Ross Barkan, New York Magazine

Finally, regarding Chris Cuomo, “Last year’s lovefest between the two [brothers], in which Chris repeatedly interviewed Andrew on CNN, was never hidden or subtle. It may have made great television, but it was not great journalism. We were in the early stages of a pandemic, and the governor was a high-profile face of the government response. CNN certainly should have interviewed him. His brother should not have… [CNN should not have] lifted the ban on the two appearing together on air…

“Journalism is not an exact science, and objectivity doesn’t automatically come with the job. Practitioners get close through checks and balances. When reporters make mistakes, editors correct them. When a commentator steps out of bounds, the standards department reminds us of the boundaries. These safeguards are in place to maintain public trust. But when the industry willfully conflates news with entertainment for ratings and clicks, we risk losing the public’s trust

“Any tally of the collateral damage must include not only Cuomo’s enablers, but also journalistic integrity itself.”
LZ Granderson, Los Angeles Times

From the Right

“There are many lessons to take from the spectacular fall of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Don’t grope women. Don’t make sexual or romantic advances on your employees. Don’t treat nursing home residents as disposable. Don’t cover up health data during a pandemic. But most of us don’t really need those lessons…

“Here’s a more general lesson: Don’t treat people like dirt, even if you think you can get away with it. Cuomo, along with all of his other flaws, was famous for being hated. He wasn’t hated for his successes or for ideology. He was hated for being a jerk to people

“Yet, for decades, he got away with it… Hundreds of people in Albany, including state legislators, gubernatorial staff, reporters, state officials, and so on, had to put up with Cuomo because of his power. Cuomo always had the option of not treating people like dirt, instead treating them like people, but seeing things as a statist politician tends to, only in terms of power, he never saw a reason he should.”
Timothy P. Carney, Washington Examiner

“The truth about Cuomo is much the same as the truth about [Harvey] Weinstein, [the former archbishop of Washington, D.C. Theodore] McCarrick, and [Jeffrey] Epstein. Everyone knew. No one cared. No one said anything until forced to. Then the feigned shock and outrage, the concern about the treatment of women, the hand-wringing and Me Too-ing, the performances on social media… Enough with the feigned outrage and furrowed brows. It’s time our political and media elite just come clean and admit they don’t care about any of this, that they’re okay with even the worst sort of behavior from their leaders.”
John Daniel Davidson, The Federalist

Regarding incoming governor Kathy Hochul, “She’s largely unknown and untested — but good signs abound: The Buffalo native has called herself ‘an independent Democrat’ and got her start in politics as an aide to Rep. John LaFalce and the late, great Sen. Pat Moynihan, both independent-minded liberals… Yet she will preside over a state facing soaring crime and a post-COVID economy struggling to recover, with a disastrous rent-relief program and a leadership void at key agencies such as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority…

“Worst, she must face down radicalized lawmakers whose agenda — yet more anti-cop measures, raising taxes further and yet more irresponsible state spending and bank-busting programs like single-payer health care — would be disastrous. Her first order of business, of course: Clean house at the Capitol’s Second Floor, removing Cuomo loyalists, especially those linked to his numerous scandals. But she’ll also need to assemble her own trusted team all across state government.”
Editorial Board, New York Post

Get troll-free political news.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.