Are the allegations against Cuomo enough to warrant his resignation?
- Andrew Cuomo is the Democratic Governor of New York. He assumed office on January 1, 2011. His current term ends on January 1, 2023.
- On March 25, Governor Cuomo signed an executive order forcing nursing homes in his state to accept patients who tested positive for coronavirus. Around 4,800 New Yorkers died from COVID-19 in those nursing homes from March to May—approximately 25% of all fatalities in the state.
- Cuomo’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, admitted that Cuomo’s administration “delayed releasing data about the death because officials worried the information would be used against them.”
- On Wednesday, March 3, Cuomo was accused of “inappropriately touching and offensive remarks” by three women. He responded, “I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable” and “it was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it.”
- Cuomo’s approval rating dropped significantly after the sexual harassment and coronavirus scandals, starting at 71 percent and falling to 38 percent this week.
Everyone, regardless of their status, deserves to feel safe at work. Everyone, also regardless of position, deserves to have any allegations against them (at work or anywhere else) fully and impartially investigated before having their life destroyed. Governor Cuomo of New York, as well as his accusers, are no different. While the allegations against Cuomo seem specific and consistent (not to mention recent), he still merits the benefit of an investigation. As disgusting as sexual harassment is, anyone who's ever tried flirting knows different people have different lines of what is 'appropriate' behavior (illegal behavior, obviously excepted). Equally disgusting is co-workers, supervisors, or sycophants' tendency to shield the accused and instead remove or discredit accusers. This reinforces the mindset of powerful people that they're entitled to behave in certain ways. The celebrity and power-crazed obsession in our culture have enabled vile conduct from otherwise functional adults who unquestionably know better.
It's plausible some of Cuomo's behavior can be attributed to his Italian heritage's tactile nature. However, that argument breaks down with repeated offenses, not to mention the alleged highly inappropriate comments. We must move past the politicization of such behavior. The 'believe all women' and 'exercise restraint' tropes trotted out by the Republicans or Democrats, depending on who's currently being accused, are revolting. If, as seems likely, an independent investigation does, in fact, find the claims of these (so far) three women to have merit, Cuomo should either resign or be impeached. But just as any of us would hope for someone we know and love to receive impartial treatment under the law, so should Cuomo.
The sexual harassment allegations against Gov. Andrew Cuomo are merely the latest evidence of Cuomo's serial abuse of power that has had ruinous results for New Yorkers. The Cuomo administration's poor COVID policy, resulted in 13,000 nursing home deaths (which were subsequently covered up), over 160,000 businesses shuttering within the first six months of the pandemic, and has shattered the lives of millions of children who were not allowed to return to school. Cuomo's accusers (two of whom are former subordinates of his) are credible, corroborated, and in one case, come equipped with cringe-worthy photographic evidence of his creepy, inappropriate behavior.
Cuomo's modus operandi when challenged is to bully his opponents. As a New York magazine article observed, 'when he's criticized, his first reaction—often deployed through surrogates or staffers—is to belittle or intimidate.' This pattern was repeated when Cuomo's first accuser came forward—her allegations were immediately denied (with the obvious inference that the accuser must be lying). Unfortunately for Cuomo, there is a photo of him taking a horrified-looking accuser's face in his hands. He's since tried to brush it off as being a touchy, feely guy.
Cuomo's hubris and hypocrisy are likely to bring an end to his catastrophic reign of error. Cuomo's support among prominent Democrat officeholders is starting to evaporate. As NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio observed, 'I don't see how Cuomo goes on.' Finally, a tweet from one of Cuomo's accusers summarizes Cuomo's predicament: 'How can New Yorkers trust you @NYGovCuomo to lead our state if you 'don't know' when you've been inappropriate with your own staff?' It's time for Cuomo to leave office.