If you talk to elected officials, the governor is in trouble. If you talk to the people, the job he’s doing outweighs the trouble.
In a recently released Siena College Research Institute poll, 50-43% of New Yorkers believe he shouldn’t resign immediately.
These results run counter to the media narrative about Cuomo’s house of cards falling.
Cuomo has fought back against an investigation by New York State Attorney General Letitia James that concluded that his administration undercounted the number of COVID-related deaths in nursing homes. This coming after criticism of Cuomo for making nursing homes take back in residents with COVID.
Most recently, he has fought back against at least a half-dozen sexual harassment/misconduct allegations that become more detailed every day.
Speaking about the accusers in the ongoing case President Joe Biden said Tuesday night, “Takes a lot of courage. So, the presumption is they should be taken seriously. And it should be investigated. And that’s what’s underway now. There could be a criminal prosecution that is attached to it. I just don’t know.”
When asked about what would happen to Cuomo if the allegations were proven to be true, Biden noted that he should resign, and, “I think he’ll probably end up being prosecuted, too.”
“The governor should just keep doing his job. He should come to work every day and keep fighting for New York, and making the state better,” State Sen. Parker said, speaking on Back to Basics on OneVoiceFM.com. “We are in the middle of budget negotiations, and he should negotiate the budget in such a way that creates equity in Black, Latinos and Asian communities, and make sure that women get their piece of the pie, as we carve up 180 billion dollars of economic activity in the state of New York state.”
The Brooklyn representative stated that the governor like “everybody in this country…is entitled to the presumptive right of innocence, and…to due process That is not dialectical to the fact that you can respect these women, and respect their bravery for coming forward and making these allegations.”
Parker insisted, “And give the attorney general the time to do her work. She’s in the middle of an investigation. The State Assembly is about to do a separate investigation. Let these investigations play themselves out. Let’s get a determination about what actually happened in each and every one of these cases, and let’s reserve judgment until we get all the facts.”
“One piece of new information that came to light today was the governor’s preoccupation with his hand size and what the large size of his hands indicated to Charlotte and other members of his staff,” said Debra Katz, the lawyer of accuser Charlotte Bennett, in a statement.
Katz also stated that Bennett, 25, provided her and investigators with 120 pages of records to corroborate her allegations.
Since the allegations were made public, many prominent political figures in the state and in Washington have called for the governor to resign.
In a joint statement, U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand called for Cuomo to step down.
“Confronting and overcoming the COVID crisis requires sure and steady leadership. We commend the brave actions of the individuals who have come forward with serious allegations of abuse and misconduct,” Schumer and Gillibrand said. “Due to the multiple, credible sexual harassment and misconduct allegations, it is clear that Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of his governing partners and the people of New York. Governor Cuomo should resign.”
Schumer and Gillibrand join the likes of New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, U.S. Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jamaal Bowman and Sean Patrick Maloney and dozens of other elected officials.
For his money, Cuomo said on Friday, “I have not had a sexual relationship that was inappropriate, period.”
But nevertheless, his support stands…in certain places.
“A majority of New York City voters and a plurality of voters from both upstate and the downstate suburbs say he should not resign,” stated Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg. “…Voters outside of New York City are closely divided, however, a strong majority of New York City voters say he can effectively do his job.”
But all of the news from the Siena poll isn’t great for Cuomo. Despite the call against resigning immediately, Cuomo’s approval rating went down from 56-39% in February to 43-45% now. His job performance rating also dropped from 51-47% last month to 46-52% now.
Only 34% of voters said they would re-elect Cuomo if he ran in 2022.
Late Wednesday morning and early afternoon demonstrated Cuomo’s uphill battle. A plane banner reading “New Yorkers Say: Cuomo’s Got to Go!” flew in Downtown Albany between the State Capitol Building, Lincoln Park, Washington Park and Ten Broeck Triangle urging the governor to resign.
Shaunna Thomas, executive director of UltraViolet, a progressive feminist group that commissioned the plane with Women’s March and Girls for Gender Equity, said men in power need to keep being called out for certain behaviors in the workplace and everywhere in general.
“Following the first allegation of sexual misconduct against Andrew Cuomo, we called on him to immediately resign from the governorship,” said Thomas. “Since then, six more women have come forward to share harrowing experiences of what working for Cuomo was like. Sexual harassment should not be tolerated in any workplace, let alone by the administration of the governor of New York. These women are putting everything on the line in the hopes that their abuser will be held accountable.
“We believe them. Cuomo must resign today.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio joined the political beatdown of Cuomo on television this week.
On NY1’s Inside City Hall with Errol Louis this Monday, the mayor piled on Cuomo joining the fray of elected officials who believe he should resign. The mayor said New York’s operations would carry on fine without his assumed political nemesis.
“…The day-to-day work of government continues regardless of political scandals,” said de Blasio. “The folks who are, you know, the long-term civil servants and the subject experts all keep talking to each other. The health care folks in the city are talking to the health care folks at the state, no matter what.”
The mayor and the governor have a much-documented beef for years.
“We’ll keep going but Governor Cuomo should do everyone a favor and get the hell out of the way, because it’s just not going to make it any better for him to stick around,” de Blasio stated.
Asked if Cuomo shouldn’t acquiesce to the loud calls for him to resign, State Senator Parker said, “He doesn’t think he should resign. Right now, he thinks he can still run the state, and so he should do that. And simultaneously he is entitled to a presumptive right of innocence.”
Calling it all “dangerous,” Parker added, “The standard is way too low, obviously there should be a higher standard for elected officials, but there is also the constitutionally protected presumptive right of innocence. So, let him have his day in court if that’s what he wants, and go forward.
“It’d be different if people weren’t investigating it,” Parker continued, citing the attorney general and state investigations, and he added that according to the press, “The federal government is doing an investigation as to whether a defective instrument was filed with one of the federal departments…why would we preempt all these investigations to actually know what’s happening when he is declaring his innocence?”
On the other hand, even if Cuomo did resign and current New York State Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul took over, her governorship would start with immediate conflict if Republicans have it their way.
NYGOP head Nick Langworthy spoke to reporters in Buffalo last week and suggested that Hochul would still have to answer for Cuomo’s actions. They want to learn how much did Hochul know about Cuomo’s behavior and the administration hiding COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes.
“There is nothing stopping her from answering these questions,” Langworthy said. “I believe she, like the governor, has an absolute obligation to be forthright and answer these questions. Andrew Cuomo’s victims are not silent. They grow louder by the day. Kathy Hochul’s silence, however, is deafening.”
While that may seem to be the political vultures circling around Cuomo, the governor marches on with business as usual. In Harlem on Wednesday at New York press time, he received the single-dose vaccine at a pop-up vaccination site in Mount Neboh Baptist Church. All week he has been touting some of New York State’s new conservation projects such as the beginning of construction on the Albany Skyway (an elevated park that would connect all of Albany’s neighborhoods), proposing the advancement of efficiency standards to combat climate change, and the state obtaining $57.2 million in grants for capital infrastructure projects for almost a three dozen colleges and universities through the Higher Education Capital Matching Grant Program (HECap).
But the harassment allegations, the alleged coverup of nursing home deaths and his refusal to resign dominates the public discourse, at a time when people are still receiving, waiting for or debating about the COVID-19 vaccine.
For Cuomo, no news would be good news.