While many in the mainstream media have since moved on to other topics, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) isn’t out of the woods yet when it comes to a pair of growing scandals that have threatened to derail his political career.
As Cuomo struggles to keep at bay allegations of sexual misconduct and claims that he grossly underreported coronavirus-related deaths in his state’s nursing homes at the height of the pandemic, yet another one of his top aides is running scared from the controversy and jumping ship.
According to Fox News, Cuomo’s communications director, Peter Ajemian, announced Friday that he would be stepping away from the Democrat’s administration.
Comms director out
In a statement announcing his departure, Ajemian said he was “grateful to the governor for giving me the chance to serve.”
“After nearly four years, and with this year’s budget done and vaccine eligibility open to everyone, I decided now is the time to pursue opportunities in the private sector,” he said, according to Spectrum’s NY1.
“It’s been the honor of a lifetime to be part of a team working for New Yorkers in a period of unprecedented crisis and seeing the government work for the people and people work for each other,” the now-former communications director added.
Ninth to go
Ajemian is now the ninth staffer of the governor’s to publicly quit “over the past few months,” according to NY1. Others to have resigned include Cuomo COVID-19 adviser Gareth Rhodes, press secretary Caitlin Girouard, and spokesman Jack Sterne.
According to Fox, Ajemian had served in Cuomo’s administration for four years, but only took on the job of communications director in August 2020. He took over for Dani Lever, who was also said to have ditched the governor’s office for a private sector opportunity.
Ajemian will reportedly be replaced in the role by Richard Azzopardi, the longtime chief adviser to the governor who is now set to serve in both roles.
Is anyone surprised?
At least as far as outward appearances go, Ajemian’s resignation looks to have been on good terms, and he didn’t mention Cuomo’s budding scandals in his departing statement.
Still, there’s little doubt the controversies have dampened morale in the governor’s office, as evidenced by the recent exodus of advisers and aids — nearly a dozen at this point.
With questions still mounting over whether Cuomo sexually harassed and assaulted several of his former staffers, and whether his office’s cover-up of nursing home deaths from COVID-19 broke any laws, is it really any wonder that even the governor’s top confidants are throwing in the towel?