I Admired Governor Cuomo—Now I Think He Needs to Resign Immediately

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I always feel a bit sheepish writing about Andrew Cuomo because I was one of the many people who wrote nice things about him as recently as March 2020. Perhaps it was Stockholm syndrome or partisanship eating away at my cerebral cortex, or perhaps it was just that I was comforted by his press conferences during the height of the pandemic, which had their flaws but looked pretty good next to Trump’s. Whatever the reason, my Cuomo hot takes in the spring of 2020 were an enormous mistake.

But that was 11 victims ago. That was before the impeachments investigation, which began in March, culminated this week with the finding that Cuomo had engaged in “a pattern of inappropriate conduct“—which included “kissing on the lips”—lots and lots and lots of inappropriate touching, invitations to “play strip poker,” and other super-inappropriate sexual talk. That was before the New York State Attorney General’s report, released this week, deemed his behavior “deeply humiliating, uncomfortable, offensive, or inappropriate”  While these findings weren’t surprising (or news, in some cases), the accusations were specific and persuasive. And what Cuomo did next was almost worse than the allegations.

Instead of resigning and apologizing, Cuomo doubled down, insisting that he sexually harasses everyone. It was something I’ve never seen a politician do, and honestly, I hope I’ll never see it again. Cuomo declared, “I do it with everyone. Black and white, young and old, straight and LGBTQ, powerful people, friends, strangers, people who I meet on the street.”

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And then Cuomo showed a video of himself touching people. I’m not sure that “I sexually harass everyone” is the defense Cuomo and his team think it is. With his video Cuomo also released an 85-page statement, the majority of which was made up of images of other politicians hugging people. I guess someone in the Cuomo brain trust decided that a collection of random images, taken out of context, somehow made him less culpable, but it doesn’t. Not even a little.

Though there hasn’t been a ton of consensus on the matter until now, the Democratic Party now seems fairly unified in its response: Cuomo should step down. President Joe Biden stated: “I think he should resign. I understand that the state legislature may decide to impeach. I don’t know that for a fact.” Senator Chuck Schumer, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolfe, Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee all said the same. As, of course, did New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio, who said at a Wednesday press conference, “Putting your hand up a woman’s shirt and touching their breast is not generational. I know plenty of guys who are older who would never in a million years do that.” In fact the only person I could find who was defending governor Cuomo was Newsmax contributor Greg Kelly, who, not coincidentally, has faced rape allegations in the past.

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