For some distance of 2020, Andrew Cuomo pitched himself as the greatest disaster manager in American politics. His Covid-19 press conferences jam the tone, oscillating between light touches—discussions of familial dynamics in quarantine, celeb cameos, and props—stern warnings, and inspirational speeches. For a time, they proved to be the ultimate counter-programming to the avalanche of distortions and ravings coming from the White Dwelling. While all this used to be taking place, Cuomo used to be cashing in: He acquired as a minimum $4 million for a book, American Disaster: Management Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic, which within the extinguish equipped about 45,000 copies.
Because it turns out, he used to be furthermore covering up. His workers worked tirelessly to prevent correct statistics about the artificial of nursing home deaths within the negate. But none of that mattered. Cuomo used to be, for good swathes of Blue The united states, no longer finest a shadow president but an anti-Trump: The nation wished a pacesetter, and tons more and tons of the public and recordsdata media stumbled on it within the gruff, uncharismatic, and perfidious form of Andrew Cuomo.
Issues haven’t long gone to knowing in 2021. Original scrutiny of Original York’s administration of Covid-19 printed that the Cuomo administration had deliberately undercounted nursing home deaths—and that it would possibly perchance well probably perchance well also objective bear carried out so to bolster the governor’s contemporary and profitable political prominence. No longer prolonged in a while, Cuomo used to be accused of sexual harassment by 11 females, alongside side a amount who worked in his attach of job. These allegations were each credible—some included documentary proof—and revealing. Cuomo ruled over a attach of job defined by toxicity, bullying, and intimidation. (This, it must be underlined, had prolonged been an inaugurate secret, each in Albany and within the media.) Virtually every Democrat within the nation referred to as on Cuomo to resign, alongside side Dwelling Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Joe Biden.
On Tuesday, Cuomo hit a brand contemporary low. Original York negate Attorney Traditional Letitia James launched the findings of an investigation into the sexual harassment allegations leveled against Cuomo. That document stumbled on that Cuomo broke negate and federal guidelines, that he sexually careworn just a few females, and that he retaliated against as a minimum one for making claims against him. “Governor Cuomo sexually careworn contemporary and frail negate employees in violation of each federal and negate guidelines,” James acknowledged about the document. “The self reliant investigation stumbled on that Governor Cuomo careworn just a few females, many of whom were younger females, by enticing in unwanted groping, kisses, hugging, and by making contaminated comments.” James’s document furthermore printed that Cuomo used to be being urged by an inside of circle that included frail aides and his brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo.
Cuomo answered to this disaster of his possess making with a prerecorded video that used to be execrable even by the criteria of novel American politics. Cuomo insisted that, in spite of the detailed document from the negate’s attorney frequent, “the info are powerful diverse from what has been portrayed.”
“I by no method touched somebody inappropriately or made contaminated sexual advances,” Cuomo acknowledged. “I’m 63 years feeble. I bear lived my total adult existence in public peep. That is staunch no longer who I’m, and that’s no longer who I bear ever been.”
Then the slideshow began. Photos flashed by of Cuomo hugging supporters and pals, alongside side Robert De Niro, Charlie Rangel, and Al Gore. “I enact it with each person,” Cuomo acknowledged. “Black and white, younger and feeble, straight and LGBTQ, grand of us, pals, strangers, those that I meet on the avenue.”
In the case of surreal press conferences, it is difficult to gather a associated match in American politics. The names Mark Sanford and Rod Blagojevich method to thoughts; Anthony Weiner furthermore strikes a identical chord. In more contemporary years, one would possibly perchance well perchance perchance rob Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s gruesome press convention when he equipped to moonwalk after a photo of him carrying blackface in medical college emerged.
But this used to be quite a hill for Cuomo to mount a protection atop: He couldn’t bear dedicated sexual harassment or created a hostile work atmosphere because he used to be such an inveterate kisser, hugger, and toucher of others. In his telling, the transient against him used to be all one huge misunderstanding—and one in which Cuomo, a sensitive-feely Italian-American paisan of the of us, used to be the victim. That Cuomo’s slideshow furthermore contained shots of many grand and well-known of us furthermore instructed a form of threat: Here is a one who would possibly perchance well perchance well be wounded but he mute possesses incalculable energy and affect. Cuomo’s protection of allegations that he bullies and intimidates those around him were intimations of future bullying and intimidating.
Cuomo’s attach of job then launched an 85-page document that included shots of diverse of us hugging the governor, alongside side Joe Biden, and one of Cory Booker greeting Kamala Harris with a kiss—you see, because some of us hug and kiss in an anodyne and friendly method, Andrew Cuomo can’t bear carried out so in a threatening or harassing method. (Twenty-5 of the document’s 85 pages comprise shots of of us hugging and kissing.) That document furthermore targets one of Cuomo’s accusers, in particular, earlier than concluding that “her agenda and motivations are glaring.”
Who helped put together these ready-to-lunge audiovisual materials? For the 2d, this stays a thriller. But the fact that Cuomo used to be brewing up this interpret and outlandish self-protection leisurely the scenes colours the last few months of his governorship, which bear largely lacked the lofty rhetoric of Cuomo’s Covid-19 press conferences or in American Disaster. Those days when Cuomo would possibly perchance well perchance wish more without downside equipped himself as an agile foil to President Trump bear handed into the rearview mirror, as properly. Cuomo now more fully resembles a diligent pupil of the Trump playbook. He has vigorously denied the allegations, gaslighted his victims and the public, and refused to supply an stagger. He has held onto his put up with a level of shamelessness no longer incessantly ever viewed in American politics—moreover for the twice-impeached frail president. He has consistently damaged the Democratic Celebration’s credibility on sexual harassment and what diminutive stays of his possess reputation.
Cuomo is putting on by a thread, therefore his kitchen sink approach. If the Exclaim Assembly has the votes to impeach, he’s nearly absolutely screwed—the Senate is all but positive to convict him. Cuomo has rebuilt Original York’s Democratic Celebration in his image and has millions within the monetary institution. He does mute bear some allies, alongside side several grand hobby groups. These shameless shows would possibly perchance well perchance perchance also objective within the extinguish attach his political pores and skin.
But they furthermore finest underscore who Andrew Cuomo no doubt is. For some distance of the Trump know-how, Cuomo forged himself as a caring, competent substitute to the madness emanating from Washington D.C. Here used to be a Democratic flesh presser who cared about doing issues the staunch capability, who embraced #MeToo, who made the forms of tricky decisions in crises from which diverse politicians blanched. Now now we bear got an inescapable peep of who Cuomo no doubt is, and it’s a some distance exclaim from the portrait he projected within the spring of 2020: He is a petty tyrant, a bully, and, within the extinguish, a pathetic resolve obsessed finest with his possess survival.