As he made abundantly clear during a press conference earlier today, Andrew Cuomo clearly has no plans to resign. Replete with denials and a few decidedly Trumpian flourishes, parts of the press event featuring New York’s scandal-plagued governor absolutely defied belief.
Among other things, Cuomo — son of a former governor and previously married to a Kennedy — sought to position himself as an outsider besieged by the professional political establishment. “I am not part of the political club,” declared the governor midway through his statement, before adding a few minutes later: “I have been under public scrutiny since I was twenty-three years old and I ran my father’s campaign.”
In what appears to have been a scripted line he delivered twice in quick succession, Cuomo also made evident how he intends to frame the growing deluge of complaints and allegations against him: “People know the difference between playing politics, bowing to cancel culture, and the truth.”
With an impeachment inquiry now underway, the flood of allegations this morning became a tidal wave as further accusations of misconduct were detailed in a lengthy report published by New York magazine. Since former aide Lindsey Boylan published a Medium article last month accusing the governor of sexual harassment, numerous women have come forward with similar allegations — including former Politico reporter Jessica Bakeman, who this morning published a personal account of several occasions on which she says Cuomo sexually harassed her.
The allegations have appeared in the wake of a January report from New York’s attorney general which found that the governor’s health department had seriously underreported the number of COVID deaths in the state’s nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
At time of writing, more than a dozen congressional lawmakers from different wings of the New York Democratic Party had issued calls for Cuomo’s resignation — including fourteen out of nineteen members of its House delegation (with state-level officials being even more numerous). Two prominent voices, however, have conspicuously refrained from joining these calls: namely, the state’s two Democratic senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Stopping short of demanding Cuomo’s resignation, Schumer this morning repeated his basic line from the past few days that the allegations are “serious” and should be investigated while refraining from going further. Gillibrand, who notably helped lead calls for Senator Al Franken’s resignation in 2017, has described the governor’s behavior as “completely unacceptable,” notably refusing to answer a question from CNN’s Manu Raju about how the situations were different a few days ago.
What will happen now given Cuomo’s apparent determination to stay in office at all costs remains manifestly unclear. What is clear is that the standard for what constitutes grounds for resignation among many powerful Democrats is anything but uniform, and the allegations against Cuomo, notwithstanding the scandal related to the state’s nursing homes, are now far more extensive than those made toward Franken. It’s anybody’s guess what calculations lie behind the decidedly qualified statements issued by Gillibrand and Schumer, whose respective silences when it comes to demanding Cuomo’s resignation are growing more deafening with every passing hour.