I do not see how New York Governor Andrew Cuomo can survive the State Attorney General Letitia James’ report that outlines a loooong series of allegations of sexual misconduct. Members of the Democrat leadership in the Empire State are calling for his resignation. And if he does not, impeachment may be in the offing. Perhaps the biggest blow was the call for him to step down from one of his closest and longest political friends, President Biden.
It is possible that Andrew Cuomo can hunker down for the remainder of his term – which ends in 2022. Earlier, he announced his intention to run for re-election to a fourth term – even as the accusations of sexually inappropriate behavior began to surface. But this investigative report by the State’s top law officer is a whole ‘nother matter. It seems virtually impossible for him to run for re-election even if he hangs in for the remainder of his term.
His additional problem is the press – especially the folks in the New York media bubble. They have been in the front row of the Cuomo cheerleaders. Early in the Covid-19 Pandemic, the coverage was akin to beatification. But oh, how fast they flipped. In the wake of the AG’s report, CNN and MSNBC both assembled panels that excoriated Cuomo. They shredded his well-prepared and well-crafted public statement. Actually, I thought it was a much better defense than one could have expected from someone in a totally indefensible position.
The media mavens gave Andrew Cuomo a poor grade on his explanation for touching the one accuser’s face and indiscriminately planting kisses on foreheads and cheeks (the facial variety) of others. As he explained his habit, there appeared on the screen images of him touching faces and kissing cheeks of lots of people … women, men, children, voters, powerful leaders.
I thought he made a good point. After all he is Italian. And to his credit, none of the folks he kissed wound up at the bottom of the East River.
One thing struck me odd about the AG’s announcement, however. The conference was not about an indictment. It was not even the launch of a criminal investigation. It was just a report. Just a bunch of accusations. This despite the fact that Cuomo is potentially guilty of several state and federal crimes. Apparently, James — who undertook and announced the results of the investigation — does not plan to pursue criminal charges.
That makes the investigation and its findings nothing more than a political document, media fodder and something to serve up to the court-of-public-opinion. Andrew Cuomo has political enemies, and one of them is … James. Rumors abound that she wants to move into the Governor’s Mansion – a path blocked, or at least delayed, if Cuomo continues to run successfully.
I know I should be ashamed of myself for offering up such dark speculation. But then again, it is New York where the politics traditionally run pretty rough. As President Harry Truman wisely noted, “If you want a friend in politics, get a dog.”
Andrew Cuomo is not entirely out of legal danger. Based on the allegations in the report, other law enforcement agencies could take up the case – the local States’ Attorney in Albany, for one. It has been reported that they are “looking into the matter.” The claims in the report might also fuel a number of civil suits filed on behalf of alleged victims.
I probably should not have called the victims “alleged” since the #MeToo Movement has declared that women are to be believed in such cases. The necessity of proving one’s case in a court-of-law – or assuming a person’s innocence until proven guilty – are outdated concepts in the radical feminist world.
By my own evaluation, I see the accusations as a mixed bag. Two or three seem to be the most serious and have the most supportive evidence and corroborative testimony. Others … not so much. Unless there is more to be told, I found the face patting accusation to be a stretch.
There is another aspect of the situation that is not being bandied about the newsrooms. But it did make me wonder. How does this affect CNN’s superstar primetime commentator, Chris Cuomo – the younger brother of Governor Andrew Cuomo?
What you say? Why should the sins of the Cuomo family patriarch have anything to do with the younger sibling? I am not dragging Chris in scandal over the accusations of sexual misconduct by his brother. Rather, I am looking at how the family scandal might influence his reporting.
When the initial accusations became public, Chris explained to his CNN audience that “for obvious reasons” he could not report on or discuss his brother’s situation. This meant that a major news story could not be covered by the network during its primetime slot. The daytime CNN crew were exceptionally hard on the Governor. But it will be interesting to see how Chris’ bosom buddy, Don Lemon, will opine on the sex scandal.
Because of the obvious conflict of interest and the appearance of partiality, CNN should do the right thing – and that is to assign Chris to field reporting and temporarily have a fill-in take over the evening spot.
However this all shakes out, it is not likely to be good for Governor Andrew Cuomo. His political career is kaput.
So, there ‘tis.
AUTHOR NOTE: Since the writing of this commentary, there have been two new developments.
- The District Attorney in Albany has announced that the office will commence a criminal investigation.
- CNN’s Chris Cuomo reportedly assisted his brother with his defense statement, and even drafted portions. This creates a more serious potential conflict-of-interest.