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Douglas Andrews / August 11, 2021

Finally: It’s Curtains for Cuomo

In two weeks, the disgrace of New York will become its disgraced former governor.

Embattled New York Governor Andrew Cuomo finally turned in his resignation yesterday, and not a moment too soon. The walls were closing in, the sexual harassment charges were piling ever higher, and the effort to impeach him was moving along rapidly. Even Cuomo’s staunchest allies were abandoning ship.

New York Attorney General Letitia James — who by the way wouldn’t mind taking Cuomo’s spot in the next election — issued a damning report last week, laying out the case that Cuomo had sexually harassed numerous women over several years. Not only was he creepy, but he broke state and federal law. And how long had all this been going on?

Naturally, Cuomo wasn’t so much apologetic as irritated at the distraction. “I think that given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing,” he said. “And therefore, that’s what I’ll do.”

Still, though, Cuomo is doing it his way. He’s leaving in two weeks. But, as Preet Bharara warns, somebody up in Albany might want to hide the silverware and unplug all the document shredders. Bharara, an Obama appointee and the former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, wonders whether Cuomo might be up to no good during the coming fortnight. “I was a little taken aback,” said Bharara, “that he said his resignation is effective in 14 days … but I believe that Andrew Cuomo was a person of mischief. … You don’t have to give two weeks notice to resign as governor.”

Indeed, two weeks? How about right now? How about a couple of banker’s boxes and 30 minutes to clean out his desk? Truth be told, were the Empire State’s HR Department worth its salt, it would have given this arrogant, entitled, narcissistic bully the Axel Foley treatment months ago: right through the plate-glass window. But no. Cuomo will leave office when he’s good and ready. In two weeks. Until then, the rest of us can pound sand.

Joe Biden won’t be pounding sand, though. Instead, he’ll be singing the disgraced governor’s praises, just like he did last year when he called Cuomo “the gold standard” among governors, and just like he did again yesterday.

“I thought he’s done a hell of a job,” Biden said when asked about Cuomo. “And, uh, I mean both on everything from access to voting to infrastructure to a whole range of things. That’s why it’s so sad.”

Actually, what’s so sad is this notion that a sitting U.S. president feels somehow compelled to lick the boot of a reprobate governor. This point wasn’t lost on White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who all but shouted Clean-up on aisle six! before dutifully deciphering her boss’s tone-deaf remarks for those too fluent in plain English.

“POTUS responded to a specific question today about NYGovCuomo work on infrastructure,” she declared. “He also made clear it was right for NYGovCuomo to step down, reiterated his support for women who come forward, and made clear you can’t separate personal behavior from other work.”

Like he said: Helluva job, Andy!

Cuomo’s sexual misconduct is indeed indefensible, but we can’t lose sight of the fact that his actions as governor resulted in the deaths of thousands of New York’s senior citizens. As we wrote last week: “Cuomo shoved his state’s coronavirus-positive elderly folks back into nursing homes, where COVID-19 could spread unchecked among its most vulnerable population. And if we’re to believe his top aide, Cuomo then tried to cover up the true death toll — all while cashing in on his book about leadership during a crisis.”

Good riddance.

When he finally does leave, Cuomo will be succeeded by Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who’ll then serve out the remainder of the term, which ends on the last day of 2022. Hochul, who lives in Buffalo and is more of a blue-collar Democrat than a Chardonnay-sipper like Cuomo, could be a formidable opponent should she decide to run for a full term.

Those familiar with New York politics will count Cuomo as the state’s second governor to resign in just 13 years. In 2008, another sanctimonious Democrat, Eliot Spitzer, a.k.a. Client Number 9, stepped down in disgrace after having been caught cavorting with prostitutes just a few years after having cracked down on them as the state’s attorney general.

Every citizenry gets the government it deserves, of course, but maybe — just maybe — the deep-blue Empire State’s residents will give the GOP a serious look in the next election.

As another New Yorker once said, “What the hell do you have to lose?”

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