Thomas Gallatin / August 24, 2021

Cuomo’s Self-Aggrandizing Exit

The New York ex-governor’s farewell address makes it clear that he sees himself as the real victim.

Andrew Cuomo is finally no longer the governor of New York after stepping down yesterday. Kathy Hochul now assumes the post, becoming the Empire State’s first woman governor. Yet, before he exited stage left, Cuomo made sure that everyone knew he’s the real victim of his sexual harassment fiasco. In a pre-recorded 15-minute farewell speech, he never offered an apology to the victims of his sexual misconduct. Instead, Cuomo lamented that politicized allegations had forced him out.

His victims weren’t the ones guilty of doing the politicizing. The testimonies of 11 women were provided to New York Attorney General Letitia James as part of her investigative report. Cuomo is the one who played politics from his position of power, as he sought to silence, discredit, and intimidate these women.

There was no “unfair and unjust” “rush to judgement” as Cuomo maintained. Rather, there was a careful investigation that turned up evidence substantiating these women’s allegations. Tellingly, Cuomo’s himself essentially admitted many of the allegations were true, though he insisted that the women misunderstood his gestures. It was a disgraceful display of victim blaming.

Just don’t forget Cuomo’s nursing home scandal — his order regarding COVID-positive patients led to suffering and the deaths of thousands of the state’s most vulnerable people during the early months of the pandemic. He sought to cover up that decision, and then when later exposed refused to offer any apology. Recall this doozie: “Apologize? Look, I have said repeatedly: We made a mistake in creating the void. When we didn’t provide information, it allowed press, people, cynics, politicians to fill the void.”

That same attitude was on full display in Cuomo’s swan song, as he sought to both lionize his tenure and refuse to concede anything other than that he was a victim of a politically motivated hit job. “When government politicizes allegations and the headlines condemn without facts, you undermine the justice system,” he lectured, “and that doesn’t serve women and it doesn’t serve men. Of course, everyone has a right to come forward, and we applaud their bravery and courage in doing so, but allegations must still be scrutinized and verified.”

Doubling down on his victim status, Cuomo asserted: “A firecracker can start a stampede but at one point everyone looks around and says ‘Why are we running?’ … The attorney general’s report was designed to be a political firecracker on an explosive topic, and it worked. There was a political and media stampede. But the truth will [come] out in time. Of that I am confident.”

If he’s so innocent, then why resign? To this point Cuomo donned his inner Richard Nixon, contending: “You know me, I am a fighter. And my instinct is to fight this.” However, for the good of New York to avoid “governmental paralysis,” he concluded, resigning was the right thing to do. Spare us the self-aggrandizing self-canonization.

If the man truly had any consideration for his victims, any recognition of the wrong he has done, he would have genuinely admitted fault, apologized, and left, with no attempts at justifications and self-accolades. He disgraced the office. Move out. It’s over.

Update: Cuomo has now been stripped of his undeserved Emmy award he received last fall.

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