PULASKI, NY — The controversies surrounding Gov. Andrew Cuomo have been swirling for months. But Tuesday’s blistering report from Attorney General Letitia James confirming multiple incidents of sexual harassment have moved things into a new and tragic area.
Gov. Cuomo’s myriad scandals—his failed nursing home policy and subsequent cover-up, the improper use of state resources to write a COVID book, multiple sexual harassment accusations, the rushed, improperly built replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge, which was also covered up—have made it clear that he has lost the credibility to hold the highest office in the state. These distractions have clearly made it impossible for him to lead the state.
There is no path forward for New York with Andrew Cuomo as governor. Even his closest allies, President Biden, state Democratic Chair Jay Jacobs and longtime political supporters, have called for his resignation. The sooner he reaches the same conclusion, the better it will be for all parties. He must resign immediately. If he fails to do so, the Assembly must file articles of impeachment so the Senate can move forward with a trial.
The attorney general’s investigation into the governor’s toxic, potentially criminal behavior and his treatment of women in and out of the workplace shows a disturbing pattern of behavior. His victims painted a picture of a man who not only doesn’t deserve to continue as governor of New York, but does not belong in any leadership or public service position at all.
The women who stepped forward to bring this behavior into the public spotlight exhibited tremendous courage. Despite the personal risks and vindictive nature of the governor and those around him, they bravely decided to share their experiences and challenge his authoritarian regime. The people of New York owe these women a debt of gratitude.
A resignation or impeachment are warranted, but may not be the only accountability ahead in Andrew Cuomo’s future. While the Assembly’s Judiciary Committee is wrapping up its investigation, the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn and the FBI are still carrying out their own investigations, multiple district attorneys around the state have requested materials from the attorney general’s office. Just today, a formal criminal complaint against the governor was filed with the Albany County Sheriff’s Office, all of which can be pursued outside of impeachment.
It is unclear why Gov. Cuomo remains in office. There is much work to do as new variants of COVID-19 challenge public health officials, the state’s job and economic recovery continues to lag the rest of the nation and school officials are left without any meaningful state health guidance as they prepare for the upcoming academic year. If Andrew Cuomo cares about New York at all, he will stop being a distraction, step aside and allow the state to move forward under new, more capable leadership.
If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office. My office can be reached by mail at 19 Canalview Mall, Fulton, NY 13069 and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also find me, Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay, on Facebook or on Twitter at @WillABarclay.