It hasn’t been long since 63-year-old Andrew Cuomo, the three-time governor of New York, was considered a hero.
In fact, just recently, he published a book on the secrets of leadership.
It was the time when the coronavirus was ‘harvesting’ the inhabitants of his state. When the hospitals were full and refrigerated trucks were parked outside hospitals. New York City was the epicenter of the coronavirus and the world watched in amazement.
Cuomo, with daily updates, announced the measures they were taking. He explained the situation and offered hope. He was a capable leader in the face of the federal government's chaotic response to the virus. He was, said many political analysts, on his way to becoming president.
Today we seem to be light years from that point. Cuomo is fighting for his political life; he is trying not to be kicked out of the governor’s office.
The facts are well-known. First, it was recently revealed that the deaths in nursing homes were significantly higher than his office originally reported.
Second, three women – two of whom worked for him and a third who he met at a wedding – allege that he sexually harassed them. On Tuesday, according to the third woman’s complaint published in the New York Times, he asked, "can I kiss you?" and grabbed her by the cheeks – (did you see the photo?). “I was so confused and shocked and embarrassed,” she said.
These are, of course, very serious accusations.After an initial hesitation, Cuomo made a U-turn. He does not deny the accusations of the three women, but he states that he was misunderstood.
“I now understand that my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal and that some of my comments, given my position, made others feel in ways I never intended,” Cuomo said.
The case has grown to such proportions that the New York Attorney General is launching an investigation into the allegations. When it concludes, she will publish a report with her findings. Until then, he is entitled to be presumed innocent.
At the moment, the issue is political, but the question is, can he continue to perform his duties while the investigation is underway? Opinions differ.
Many say that it is hypocrisy on the part of the Democrats to go easy on one of their own, Cuomo, while they would ‘go biblical’ and rend their garments – as they did with Trump – if this were happening to a Republican.
There is some logic to this criticism, although what Cuomo did is not the same as what Trump is accused of. One, two years ago, when the #MeToo movement was stronger, those accusations would have been enough to bring Cuomo down immediately – remember Senator Al Franken? – but not today.
What I see as I write these lines is that Cuomo will survive politically, provided there are no new complaints by women.
Regardless, the political star of Cuomo has faded significantly.