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Gov. Andrew Cuomo remains firm on keeping the job “the people of New York have elected him to serve.”
He wasn’t going to cave after Attorney General Letitia James released a scathing 165-page investigative report detailing his “sexually predatory” and “toxic bullying” behavior targeting young women and political opponents in his administrative orbit. One of the 11 young female alleged victims indelicately summed up the governor’s behavior as “sleazy and creepy” in the extreme.
Many in Cuomo’s own party have said the governor ought to resign his office. If Cuomo is thinking of resigning, he must be doing it poolside — at the politician’s mansion in Albany — where he was photographed hunkering down this week. He wasn’t alone.
The governor was photographed with an unidentified (but shapely) blonde sharing the poolside experience. No doubt his public relations team viewed the photograph as an unfortunate distraction that couldn’t have come at a worse time. Impeachment proceedings against the politician are heating up, along with the endless session, now dragging into its sixth month, of the New York State Assembly.
One of the 150-member assemblies claimed that Cuomo’s removal was “inevitable,” asserting that 80 assembly members support impeachment, going beyond the 76 votes required for a simple majority.
Cuomo is entitled to due process, but his opponents appear to be in a hurry to speed up his removal. They are appealing to the court of public opinion, which is what really counts in turning the protracted wheels of justice. This is a domain where they rule as the masters at manipulating compliant media. Why wait for the matter to be voted on?
They can be far more effective at assembling a publicity campaign to steamroll the beleaguered Cuomo. One can only suspect what Gov. Cuomo thought as he read a headline generated by a popular UK-based publication: “Meet the Down-to-Earth Irish Immigrant Ready to Replace Cuomo,” blared a headline in the Daily Mail, referencing the possible selection of Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul. She was hand-picked by Gov. Cuomo to run on his “dream ticket” in 2014 and 2018.
“Et tu Brute?” must have been Cuomo’s response to reading Hochul’s comments about the much-discussed AG investigative report. She called his actions “repulsive” and “unlawful,” but declined to “tweet” further. “Because Lieutenant Governors stand next in the line of succession,” she wrote, “It would not be appropriate to comment further on the process at this moment.” That didn’t stop her from adding one hint as to the possible outcome to this sordid matter: “No one is above the law. Under the NY Constitution, the Assembly will now determine the next steps.”
To some, that next step may be the governor being pushed to the edge of a political cliff.
It is ironic that this isn’t the first time Hochul may be ascending to greater career heights owing to a male boss engaging in sexual misconduct. She replaced a male colleague, Rep. Chris Lee, when the married politician was charged with “soliciting women for sex on Craigslist” in 2011.
Cuomo’s political star may be fading, but Hochul’s has never looked brighter. This week Democratic strategists have worked overtime in a publicity campaign designed to bolster Hochul’s possible ascension to the governor’s office. “She’s gone to great heights in government, yet one-to-one, she is so accessible and so warm and just a very generous person,” says Assembly Member Karen McMahon in the Daily Mail. Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan added to the chorus of endorsements telling the Wall Street Journal “She works hard, she listens to people, she cares… It doesn’t always happen, but in Kathy Hochul’s case she has the ability to do the job if it comes to it.”
There was one media outlet — CNN — unwilling to abandon Cuomo in what has become one of his darkest hours.
It may not count for much, but CNN’s Don Lemon chose the day the attorney general released her scathing report to turn over his broadcast to colleague Chris Cuomo, saying: “I love your brother.”
Apropos of nothing, Cuomo said in response: “I love you, Don Lemon.” The lovefest was aired on Fox News and the outtake hung in the air as another cringeworthy moment in the history of CNN. It may have designated a new low in the network’s coverage, provided there weren’t so many other competing embarrassing exchanges.
But it did provide viewers with another sterling example of CNN repackaging the news to fit a one-party narrative: This time it fell short because Gov. Cuomo no longer fits the “woke” narrative.