People all over the country were having this odd fantasy about New York State’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, in 2020.
They became self-described Cuomosexuals, especially when he was being interviewed by his brother Chris on CNN, inexplicable journalistically but probably good for the ratings.
It was all about the near-daily press conferences, in which he appeared to give competent information about the coronavirus situation. Certainly better than that other guy giving regular updates from DC. Still, I was a bit bemused by it.
Now he is in trouble because his administration reportedly undercounted the number of nursing home deaths. And his initial suggestion that “it doesn’t matter” whether they died from being in the nursing home doesn’t really matter because they’re still dead did not play well. There’s an investigation.
Plus another investigation because he allegedly sexually harassed four – no, wait, six – women. I heard Charlotte Bennett, a former aide, accuse Cuomo of grooming her for sex. She was extremely credible. Worse, he used the information that he knew about a sexual assault she had experienced, which left a really bad taste in my mouth.
A different problem: structural problems on the bridge named for his father, the late Gov. Mario M. Cuomo, were covered up. “For structures like bridges and high-rises, experts say even a few broken bolts can weaken the immense splices and result in a catastrophic collapse.”
I had voted for Mario Cuomo every chance I got, including in the 1977 NYC mayoral primary against Ed Koch – he lost – and the 1982 gubernatorial primary race against Ed Koch – he won! But when Bill Clinton was considering appointing him to the Supreme Court in 1993, he took himself out of consideration. Then he lost to an obscure state legislator named George Pataki the following year.
(The country did pretty great with Clinton’s ultimate SCOTUS nominee, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.)
He was married to Matilda Raffa for 60 years, and it was a great love story. Matilda was and continues to be a force in the family.
Andrew Cuomo was his father’s campaign manager when Mario successfully ran for governor. He joined the governor’s staff as one of his father’s policy advisors, earning $1 a year. He was an assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the first term of Bill Clinton’s Presidency and HUD secretary during the second term. His tenure was a mixed bag.
Andrew was running for governor in 2002. But he derailed his own campaign when he said (in reference to the aftermath of the September 11 attacks): “Pataki stood behind the leader. He held the leader’s coat. He was a great assistant to the leader. But he was not a leader. Cream rises to the top, and Rudy Giuliani rose to the top.” This was back in the day when Rudy had not gone bat guano crazy.
In 2006, Andrew ran for NYS attorney general. While I voted for Mark Green (no relation) in the primary, I selected him in the general election. He ran against former Westchester district attorney Jeanine Pirro. Yeah, the one now hosting Fox’s Justice with Judge Jeanine, who even then was guano crazy.
David Patterson had become governor in March 2008 after Eliot Spitzer resigned in the midst of a prostitution scandal. Andrew Cuomo had hoped to get appointed to the Senate seat vacated when Hillary Clinton became US Secretary of State in 2009, but that position went to a then-obscure upstate member of Congress, Kirsten Gillibrand.
Patterson had his own problems involving witness tampering and accepting free New York Yankees tickets and declined to run for election. Andrew Cuomo was the Democratic nominee, running against the vilely racist Tea Party Republican Carl Paladino, a Buffalo-based businessman. Cuomo won the election for governor by a landslide, which was the last time I voted for him.
Among other issues, I was less than thrilled with his wasteful program called START-UP NY which was supposed to create jobs but only hemorrhaged money. I also disliked his policy towards teacher testing. In 2014 and 2018, I voted for his Democratic primary opponents (Zephyr Teachout, Cynthia Nixon) and picked Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins in the general elections, knowing that Cuomo was running against weak Republicans.
So I was amused when Andrew Cuomo became a hero of the pandemic. He wrote a book about his great leadership during the crisis. CBS Sunday Morning did a puff piece about him with his three daughters. They are twins Cara Ethel Kennedy-Cuomo and Mariah Matilda Kennedy-Cuomo (born 1995), and Michaela Andrea Kennedy-Cuomo (born 1997). Kerry Kennedy, daughter of Robert and Ethel Kennedy, and Andrew were married in 1990, separated in 2003, and divorced in 2005.
“Cuomo began dating Food Network host Sandra Lee in 2005, and the couple moved in together in 2011. The two resided in Westchester County, NY. On September 25, 2019, the couple announced that they had ended their relationship. As of the fall of 2019, Cuomo is living in the New York State Executive Mansion in Albany on a full-time basis.”
So maybe he is “lonely,” as Charlotte Bennett reported that he indicated. But it doesn’t give him license to hit on his own staff, or other women. Ironically, his office had mandated sexual harassment training back in 2018, though he is accused of skipping it.
The NYS Republicans are looking to have Andrew Cuomo impeached. The Albany Times Union called for him to resign, as have some Democrats. I don’t know where this all going to end up. But you can bet that on January 2, 2023, he will no longer be governor.
With another governor in trouble, New York is becoming another Illinois.