Who’s Really Going After Cuomo?

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Allow me to begin with this caveat: I am not a fan of Andrew Cuomo. I do not support the bulk of his policies. I do not condone what many call his “thuggish” behavior. Above all, I feel he is a discredit to all those Italian-Americans who have tried to live a life that transcends the Hollywood stereotype of our honored heritage.

If you doubt any of the above, then go back and reread some of my previous columns.

That being said, even I find it somewhat suspicious that this once-darling of the politically woke now finds himself dodging quite serious accusations against his policies, his administration, and his very character.

My first inclination might have been “couldn’t happen to a nicer guy,” but the coincidences are just too alarming.

Look, it’s not been a secret that his March 25, 2020 directive compelling nursing homes to accept positive Covid patients has been a deadly disaster since the moment he declared it. Indeed, some of the reporting on these pages has noted the local impact this has had on the community we serve.

Of course, we don’t have the investigative reporting staff of the Wall Street Journal, so we didn’t know “Cuomo’s top advisers successfully pushed state health officials to strip a public report of data showing” the true magnitude of nursing home deaths as far back as July of 2020. This was reported by the WSJ on March 4.

According to a March 4 New York Times article, “The extraordinary intervention, which came just as Mr. Cuomo was starting to write a book on his pandemic achievements.” Apparently, Cuomo’s staff was too busy putting together the manuscript for American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic in time for its October 13, 2020 publication date to also alter this report.

This 320-page book, purportedly authored under the name of Andrew Cuomo, of course became an instant New York Times best-selling book. Now, we know the New York Times has the staff and resources to practice the kind of “watchdog journalism” that should have uncovered the nursing home data deceit of July. But it didn’t.

Lest you think the WSJ was also late to the party, the national paper did run a story a month before the book was published in September of 2020 exposing “The Hospital Lobbyists Behind Cuomo’s Nursing Home Scandal.” That article revealed the Greater New York Hospital Association gave Cuomo $1 million for his 2018 reelection effort. The WSJ fingered that group as the one behind the Cuomo’s ill-fated March 2020 mandate.

But if you want to recognize one major publication to be the first on this scandal, it would be the New York Post, whose June 20, 2020 editorial headlined “Andrew Cuomo’s big lie on nursing homes and The Post.”

Still, despite these early reports, Cuomo received an Emmy award for “his masterful use of television” during his daily Covid briefing. At least that’s what the press release said. It’s more likely it was simply a case of “Orange Man Bad” syndrome given what we now know.

In an eerie foreboding, the Emmy Award press release went on to explain, “The Governor’s 111 daily briefings worked so well because he effectively created television shows, with characters, plot lines, and stories of success and failure.” Since Cuomo’s actions have been revealed to be fiction, maybe he’ll get an Oscar next.

Incidentally, speaking of the New York Post, did you know they also published the first sexual harassment claim against Cuomo? On December 14, 2020, under the headline “Gov. Cuomo denies ex-aide’s sexual harassment allegations: ‘It’s just not true’,” the paper reported on former aide Lindsey Boylan’s sudden decision to tweet these allegations just days before.

Crickets.

That’s all you heard for quite some time.

Well, not really.

Why?

And why, all of the sudden, are you no longer hearing crickets, but instead you’re hearing canaries sing. Who could be behind this growing effort to force Cuomo out?

The pendulum began to swing against the “Cuomo as Emmy Award-Winning Best-Selling Hero” to “Cuomo the thug” in late January when New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced “it’s likely that the Cuomo administration failed to report thousands of Covid-19 deaths of nursing home residents,” as the New York Times reported it.

Apparently, her investigators didn’t dig as deep as those at the Wall Street Journal and New York Times did only a few weeks later. Perhaps they were too busy presenting what New York City’s NBC affiliate called “the strongest case possible” to a Rochester Grand Jury that decided it wasn’t strong enough.

But even Letitia James office wasn’t enough to rock Cuomo. Alas, when something as strong as mass killing doesn’t sway the crowd, what else does one have?

“Bimbo eruptions.” At least that’s what Carl Bernstein (yes, that Carl Bernstein, of “Woodward and Bernstein” Watergate fame) said Bill Clinton’s chief-of-staff called them.

Funny how old Bill was able to fend off these pretty severe physical allegations, yet Andrew Cuomo is teetering on the brink of political collapse. And even his supposedly allies are piling on. (Ironically, Hillary Clinton, not known to be a Cuomo ally, announced she backs investigations into Cuomo’s sexual harassment allegations.)

As you know, none of these stories – the nursing home or the harassment scandals – are new. So why are these chickens coming home to roost now? Who stands to gain from toppling Cuomo?

Some suggest it might be Kamala Harris, who may see Cuomo as a potential 2024 rival. This would also explain why there’s a major effort to recall California Governor Gavin Newsom, another potential Democrat presidential contender.

Others consider Letitia James as the one who has most to gain, but only if Cuomo doesn’t resign. He’s clearly damaged goods. CBS News filed a story titled “FBI and U.S. attorney investigating Cuomo administration’s handling of nursing home COVID cases.” Worse, CNBC reports “Cuomo backers pause and reevaluate fundraising as he faces sexual harassment probe.”

As much as you might not like Cuomo, to judge by her response to losing the Rochester grand jury case, you should fear Letitia James.

According to USA Today, James said, “Grand jury secrecy rules should be relaxed. The public deserves to know what transpired behind closed doors. The current secrecy laws are just out-of-date. Anachronistic.”

Remember, this is the New York State Attorney General talking. She’s supposed to know and understand the intricacies of the law, including how grand juries are protected.

If she’s as ignorant on this as it appears, imagine how worse it would be if you gave her the keys to New York State.

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