It is a tale as old as time, a man in a powerful position using that authority to allegedly prey on vulnerable females on his staff.
* This article was published as the Irish Voice newspaper's Editorial, on March 24, 2021 *
It seems every other day a new accusation of sexual harassment against Cuomo emerges, though they seem to stop short of claims he physically forced or asked a woman to have sex. His alleged behavior seems more an exercise in arrogant, power-driven behavior from a man who has been known to be universally disliked for years, even during his Covid halo period.
What has been remarkable is how toxic the Cuomo method of governing appears to have been with both male and female ex-staffers revealing a very charged and sleazy atmosphere where sexual innuendo was rife from the governor, and scalding hot criticism of aides a well as vendettas against individual staff were regularly carried out.
The Cuomo attack dog mentality extended to many members in his own party, and it is truly remarkable as a result how so few Democrats in the New York Assembly or State Senate have come out in support of him during his hour of need.
Cuomo’s Machiavellian ways have certainly caught up with him and he faces two inquiries into abuse of office.
The media and many politicians have been urging his resignation, and there has been much chest-thumping about why it is taking so long for him to be dismissed.
But caution should be the operative word. Being a bastard to people as governor is not an impeachable offense.
His female accusers will have to prove their case to the investigators. It used to be a man was innocent until proven guilty, but nowadays it seems the very mention of harassment can lead to a lynch mob mentality.
It is clear that, so far, average New Yorkers want the investigations to play out before they make a decision about Cuomo’s fitness for office. Fifty-eight percent in a recent poll stated that the governor should be allowed full due process.
His actions must be placed in the context of his job performance also.
During the fear-filled early days of the pandemic, with President Trump peddling witch doctor cures and fake news, Cuomo seized the moment with exhaustive daily press conferences to instruct, advise, assure and, frankly, give the facts and only the facts on what he knew.
America had no leader at that moment and Cuomo stepped forward. His press conferences became the focus of the day for millions seeking clarity on a killer disease that was only dimly understood.
Cuomo was a beacon of hope, a source of enlightenment, and a very necessary father figure as a nation held its breath and feared the worst.
Indeed, he was talked about back then as a future president, the very opposite of the Know-Nothing in the White House at the time who was allowing the virus to get out of control.
Nowadays we see how the mighty have fallen as Trump has exited stage right and Cuomo hangs on for dear life.
It is a stunning reversal of fortune for the governor, but it makes it all the more necessary that the truth of the accusations come out and we discover whether they were minor indiscretions or firing offenses.
What is most obvious is the Cuomo was obnoxious to just about everyone in his circle, not just females. The Irish have a phrase that the “bad deed returns to haunt.”
Certainly, that seems the case with Cuomo, but let’s not forget the good deed too. We’ll wait for the result of the investigations before firing him off the stage.