Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York and son of political chieftain Mario Cuomo, resigned in disgrace on Tuesday over accusations of sexual harassment.
The news marks an astonishing defeat for a thuggish politician who fought to salvage his career from scandal with a killer instinct, and a humiliating coda to one of the nation’s leading political dynasties.
Cuomo remained defiant on his way out, hitting back at accusations that he sexually harassed several women as “political” and maintaining that he had been treated unfairly.
“I am a fighter, and my instinct is to fight through this controversy because I truly believe it is politically motivated. I believe it is unfair and it is untruthful,” he said. But, he said, he wanted to put a lid on controversy that was proving a distraction from business of the state.
“Given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to government, and therefore that is what I’ll do, because I work for you, and doing the right thing, is doing the right thing for you,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo’s resignation came just days after attorney general Letitia James released a report on his alleged sexual misconduct, and little more than a year after the best days of his political life in the spring of 2020.
The national press puffed him up as a hero for his response to the coronavirus, and he took full advantage of the notoriety, penning a sleazy, self-promotional book about his “leadership” in the pandemic, even as he was covering up the deaths of thousands of nursing home residents. Cuomo even received an Emmy Award for his pandemic briefings and spoke at the Democratic National Convention last summer to support Joe Biden.
What a difference a year makes.
Cuomo had enjoyed the support of the media last year as he became a lightning rod for the political right, owing to his draconian lockdown policies and the nursing home scandal.
But it was not until earlier this year, when several women accused him of harassment, that his support base began to seriously erode. For the first time, many of his supporters began to see Cuomo for what he really is: a thuggish slime-ball who dealt with political opposition like the Cosa Nostra.
A dynasty in tatters
Through it all, Cuomo hit back at scrutiny of his scandals as “political.” Until the moment of truth came Tuesday, his resignation seemed far afield to many of his detractors, who say he still must pay for the victims in nursing homes.
The Cuomo dynasty, once headed by the late governor Mario Cuomo, is now in tatters. Andrew’s brother, CNN host and aggressive prima donna Chris Cuomo, seemed to anticipate the knell of disaster by taking a “vacation” from his cable news slot.
The governor will step down in 14 days, and lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, also a Democrat, will take over.