When a Democrat resorts to blaming “cancel culture,” the writing is well and truly on the wall. A struggling Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) held a press conference on Friday after New York Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jerry Nadler, both Democrats, added their voices to a rising chorus of 117 state legislators demanding the governor resign amid sexual assault allegations and the COVID-19 nursing home scandal. Cuomo again denied the allegations and condemned what he described as a “reckless” rush to conclusions.
“Politicians who don’t know a single fact but yet form a conclusion and an opinion are in my opinion reckless and dangerous,” he said. “The people of New York should not have confidence in a politician who takes an opinion without knowing the facts and substance. People know the difference between playing politics, bowing to cancel culture, and the truth. Let the review proceed, I’m not going to resign, I was not elected by the politicians, I was elected by the people.”
Cuomo, the son of a former New York governor, said, “I am not part of the political club, and you know what? I am proud of it.” Ironically, he went on to say, “My entire life I have been under public scrutiny, since I was 23 years old and ran my father’s campaign. New Yorkers know me. Wait for the facts.”
Cuomo spoke after at least eight New York congressmen and congresswomen issued calls for the governor to step down. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), the face of the young radicals in the Democratic Party, issued a statement with Rep. Jamaal Bowman.
AOC and Bowman noted that the latest sexual assault allegation against Cuomo involved the governor allegedly groping a woman in the governor’s mansion last year. “The fact that this latest report was so recent is alarming, and it raises concerns about the present safety and well-being of the administration’s staff,” AOC and Bowman wrote.
“Unfortunately, the Governor is not only facing the accusation that he engaged in a pattern of sexual harassment and assault. There is also the extensive report from the Attorney General that found the Cuomo administration hid data on COVID-19 nursing home deaths from the public and the state legislature,” the representatives added. They wrote that they agreed with the fifty-five members of the New York State legislature “who have concluded that Governor Cuomo can no longer effectively lead in the face of so many challenges.”
After two accounts of sexual assault, four accounts of harassment, the Attorney General’s investigation finding the Governor’s admin hid nursing home data from the legislature & public, we agree with the 55+ members of the New York State legislature that the Governor must resign. pic.twitter.com/jV5dwtuVPr
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 12, 2021
According to WIVB News 4, more than 55 percent of New York legislators have called for Cuomo to resign. This includes 40 Democrats and 38 Republicans in the State Assembly (for a total of 78 members in the 150-seat assembly) and 19 Democrats and 20 Republicans in the New York State Senate (for a total of 39 senators in the 63-seat body).
Impeachment requires a majority vote in the Assembly and a two-thirds vote in the Senate. While only eight Assembly Democrats have supported impeachment, Cuomo’s recalcitrance may leave little choice for the 40 Assembly Democrats who have demanded he resign.
While Republicans and conservatives have rightly complained about leftist orthodoxy creating a “cancel culture,” Democrats and liberals often rebuke the idea, claiming that cancellations involve accountability for a person’s insensitivity.
Cuomo, who demanded Brett Kavanaugh take a lie detector test when Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault thirty years back, seems unwilling to apply a similar standard to himself.
The nursing home scandal and the sexual assault scandal have been budding for months, but they broke open beginning in January.
At the end of January, Attorney General Letitia James (D) released a damning report showing that the state government had undercounted COVID-19 deaths connected to nursing homes. Under Cuomo’s policy forcing nursing homes to accept COVID-19-positive patients, the state sent 9,000 COVID-19 patients to nursing homes and some of the homes complained to the governor that half of their staff were sick or home with the virus.
Last month, a Democratic lawmaker let slip to The New York Post that the secretary to the governor confessed to having lied about COVID-19 nursing home death data because the data could be “used against us” in a federal probe. Even worse, Cuomo’s aides rewrote a COVID-19 report from state health officials to conceal the true number of nursing home patients who died from COVID-19. The FBI and the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York have reportedly opened an investigation.
New York State Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens), went public saying Cuomo threatened to “destroy” him if he continued to criticize the governor’s nursing home scandal.
This nursing home scandal burst the dam wide open. No fewer than five women have come forward accusing Cuomo of sexual assault.
Lindsey Boylan, a former Cuomo aide, went public in December but gained attention last month. She claimed the governor “has created a culture within his administration where sexual harassment and bullying is so pervasive that it is not only condoned but expected. … He used intimidation to silence his critics.” Boylan claimed Cuomo approached her numerous times and once kissed her on the lips.
Charlotte Bennett, a former health policy adviser, said Cuomo asked her personal questions about her sex life. Anna Ruch, a former Obama staffer, said Cuomo grabbed and kissed her at a 2019 wedding in Manhattan — and a photograph shows an extremely uncomfortable-looking Ruch with Cuomo’s hands on her cheeks. Karen Hinton, a married woman and former press aide to the governor, said that Cuomo embraced her in his “dimly lit” hotel room in 2000. She left before anything else happened. Anna Liss, another former aide, recounted Cuomo asking her if she had a boyfriend, touching her on her lower back, and kissing her hand.
Cuomo has denied the allegations, insisting that he never intentionally made anyone feel uncomfortable. Yet the scandals continue to mount, and it seems the governor’s days in office may be numbered. The fact that Cuomo had to resort to blaming “cancel culture” does not look good for him.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.