• November 27, 2021

In the end, Cuomo becomes completely triumphant – Mother Jones

Illustration by Mother Jones; Evan Vucci / AP; Maria Altaffer / AP

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On Tuesday, New York Attorney General Letitia James released a damning report detailing the results of a four-month investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against three-term governor Andrew Cuomo. The explosive review, which the Attorney General requested after two state employees came forward in February with indictments against the governor, found that he had “sexually harassed various current and former New York State employees, among other things, by engaging in unwanted touching and non-consensual, as well as making numerous offensive comments of a suggestive and sexual nature that created a hostile work environment for women ”. The governor had also tried to retaliate against one of her accusers by smearing her as a Donald Trump supporter who was determined to make him look bad.

Immediately in the face of calls to resign, Cuomo responded in recorded video. I was stumped! How could he be accused of such behavior? After all, a member of her family was the victim of sexual assault like one of her accusers, Charlotte Bennett. “I thought I had learned a lot about the subject from my family’s experience,” Cuomo said, explaining why he made sexually inappropriate comments to Bennett. “I thought I could help her get through a difficult time. I asked him questions that I don’t normally ask people. ”His prepared response was a masterpiece of denial, defiance, wounded self-righteousness, all cloaked in layers of absurdity.

Sounds familiar?

A year ago, there weren’t many people who compared Andrew Cuomo to then-President Donald Trump. Trump was screwing up the COVID response as Cuomo earned accolades like true leader who was handling the massive crisis in New York gathering facts and displaying impressive political skill. Furthermore, he was the apparently betrothed father of two teenage daughters. But when complaints arose about how his administration handled the pandemic and allegations about his sexual predatory and harassing behavior, I realized that perhaps the governor and the then-president had a few things in common besides being powerful men from New York.

Let’s start with the allegations of sexual harassment. During the Trump era, whenever allegations surfaced about a Democratic politician like those against Al Franken, a group of people, usually experts and people dedicated to the Democratic Party, would come out of the wood to play a few rounds of “whataboutism.” You’re complaining that filling in the blanks creates a culture of fear, or assaulting women, or engaging in deceptive behavior, or filling in the blanks, but what about Donald Trump? Of course, hardly any politician comes close to Donald Trump in terms of being credibly accused of sexual assault by a long list of women.

After the arsonist 2005 tape was released just weeks before the 2016 election, where you can hear Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women, dismissed his actions as simple “Wardrobe” talk and went on to win the elections. The dozens of women who have stepped forward to describe the former president’s blatant misconduct have been repeatedly disparaged and fired. In 2019, Trump said one of its most prominent accusers, E. Jean Carroll, she was “totally lying,” adding, just for that special shred of credibility, that she “wasn’t my type.”

In addressing the allegations made against him, Cuomo took a similar, albeit more vocal, approach, focusing on his own misunderstood behavior rather than smearing those who stepped forward. “The facts are very different from what has been described”, Cuomo meowed during his response, claiming that his accusers were “misinterpreting” his behavior and behavior towards them. He had done nothing wrong, he insisted, and he was going nowhere. “I do it with everyone!” he said of allegations that he inappropriately touched state personnel. “Black and white, young and old, straight and LGBTQ, powerful people, friends, strangers, people I meet on the street.”

Always eager to provide proof, Cuomo too released his own report. It contained dozens of photos of Cuomo hugging a variety of people like his own mother and Joe Biden. It also included a photo of former President Barack Obama hugging Hillary Clinton and, just to be bipartisan, former President George W. Bush hugging a white-haired woman.

The fact that Cuomo believes that hugging one’s mother or hugging a lifelong friend is the same as grabbing the women who work for him sums up the whole problem, not to mention his forgetfulness of the fact that he created an environment. which is described in the book. report as “full of fear and intimidation.

Be unrepentant The sexual plague is not the only quality the two men share. In March and April 2020, when COVID-19 began to spread substantially in the US, New York was one of the first states be devastated. Trump was busy spewing misinformation at very painful press conferences. A parade of CEOs once appeared to promote a test program That never went anywhere Then there were his many medical advice, like his suggestion that we could kill the virus by injecting bleach or that a untested antimalarial drug it was the magic solution for COVID patients. In contrast, Cuomo’s press conferences provided practical and scientific information, such as current infection rates and how to get tested. And when he appeared as a guest on his brother Chris Cuomo (who tested positive for COVID-19) CNN TV show, they engaged in witty pranks to the delight of viewers. Cuomo’s celebrity sparked a lot of thirst on social media, with young people referring to themselves as “Cuomosexuals,Idolizing the brethren after being fed up with the Trump administration’s disastrous response.

Andrew Cuomo was on top. He wrote a book on his COVID response, and there was even talk about a presidential candidacy. When it comes to responding to the pandemic, the governor of New York could not be wrong.

On the other hand, maybe it could.

In January, a different report came out from the state attorney general, about how the New York health department underestimated deaths in nursing homes by 50 percent; Cuomo even acknowledged that 15,000 people had passed away in long-term care facilities compared to 8,500 reported by the state. Melissa DeRosa, a great helper and facilitator for Cuomo, said the administration hid the numbers because they didn’t want Trump to use the information against them, which was another way of saying that optics were more important than truth. Then, in February, the FBI revealed that the agency was investigating the Cuomo administration for allegedly covering up deaths in nursing homes, but late last month the Justice Department announced that it reviewed all the information, it would go no further in its investigation and declined to comment further.

Do you know who else wanted pandemic numbers to look better than they were?

Throughout 2020, Trump would oppose increased testing because he knew that if the US conducted widespread testing, it would reveal the true extent of both the disease’s devastation and the failures of his administration. “When you test to that point, you will find more people,” Trump said. saying during a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma (which may have been a super-spread event and could possibly have led to the COVID death of one of his supporters, pizza mogul Herman Cain). “You are going to find more cases. So, I said to my people, ‘Slow down the testing, please.’ When members of his administration tried to clean up his comments by saying he was joking, Trump doubled down and told reporters: “I am not kidding”.

The convergence of allegations of nursing home deaths and several women accusing the governor of sexual misconduct led to Cuomo’s rapid fall from his pinnacle of national fame. And here’s an important distinction between the fate of these two men: Unlike Trump, for all his outlandish efforts to rewrite the record, Cuomo may not be able to hold it. Multiple high-profile elected officials, such as Senators Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (DN.Y.), have called on Cuomo to resign, just like president joe biden. Cuomo’s once loyal allies in Albany are distance, and the halls of the State Capitol are filled with calls for his resignation and threats of impeachment. (A process that Trump is intimately familiar with – twice!)

In terms of the consequences of his actions, Trump is a far more dangerous and destructive presence in the body politic than Cuomo. The electoral meddling, the encouragement of insurrection, the total destruction of the Republican Party and the relentless undermining of democracy are still his. Democrats are more likely to demand that their transgressors resign; Republicans ignore any problems and continue to pander to the abuser-in-chief. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if one day we discover that on a golf course in Mar-a-Lago, the 45th president regrets that he too has not posted dozens of photos of himself hugging various people to refute the assault allegations. sexual against him. he. On the other hand, he really didn’t have to, did he? And, in the end, that’s the biggest difference of all.

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