It is a sad commentary on human nature but if Andrew Cuomo were a Republican, the preamble you are about to read would be unnecessary. I shouldn’t need to remind any of us that we should be about right and wrong first and party and politics second. Getting right and wrong and politics confused is what Republicans do, right? Well, those are inexpensive words and it’s now time, as is occasionally the case, for us to pay the actual tariff.
My job as I see it is to call balls and strikes, and the fact that I call strikes far more often on Republicans than I do on Democrats probably creates the illusion that I am biased against Republicans . That is not the case. I call more strikes on Republicans because they are forever striking out, as is evidenced by their constant hypocrisies, lies, thefts and betrayals.
Democrats screw up far less often. For every Rod Blagojevich I can show you four dozen Jim Jordans, Marjorie Taylor Greenes, Kevin McCarthys and Lauren Boeberts. And unlike in the case of Blagojevich I don’t have to go all the way back to 2008 to find a basket of deplorables either. All I have to do is search the daily headlines where, on a slow news day, I can easily find four or five Republican scandals, outrages and idiocies.
But when a Democrat blows it I’m going to call it out, and Andrew Cuomo has blown it. New York Attorney General Letitia James has released her report on allegations that Cuomo sexually harassed at least 11 women — and the report is damning.
President Joe Biden said Cuomo should resign and I agree with the President. New York legislators of both parties vehemently condemned Cuomo’s conduct and are deciding whether or not further action should be taken against the governor. Naturally Cuomo denies the allegations and has shown little remorse for his actions and no willingness to step down. Instead he responded with gaslighting irrelevancies, including photos of other politicians hugging people.
Also, can we take it as read that when a powerful man (or powerful person of any gender) confronts a low-paid, powerless civil servant it is not a level playing field? The women Cuomo harassed had so little power relative to him they may as well have had none at all, and for anyone to suggest they should have done something to thwart Cuomo’s advances is nothing more than loathsome victim blaming. Nor does the fact that Cuomo is a single man have any bearing on the odiousness of his harassments.
The investigators uncovered a pattern of inappropriate behavior by Cuomo, which included unwanted touching and comments of a “suggestive and sexual nature.” All told, Cuomo harassed multiple women. Current and former staff members and women outside of his office also reported harassment by the governor. Several of the accusers told the investigators that Cuomo made inappropriate remarks to them, including that he asked questions about their sexual histories, commented about their appearance and called them nicknames like “sweetheart” or “darling.”
The report characterized the environment Cuomo created as “toxic,” and some women who worked there were prevented from doing their jobs by Cuomo’s relentless aggressions. Cuomo even went so far as to change the New York State law so he could get one state trooper whom he fancied on his detail, despite her otherwise disqualifying inexperience.
One must also consider that some of Cuomo’s advances were undoubtedly successful, and given the number and frequency of the complaints it leaves one wondering when did Cuomo actually have time to be the governor of the state of New York?
It’s time for Andrew Cuomo to resign. The report by the Attorney General has shown Cuomo to be unfit to continue in the office of the governor of the state of New York. The standards we would apply to any ordinary office worker or retail clerk or meter reader surely must be doubly applicable for a governor or any powerful politician. We should insist that holders of political office conform to higher standards, not lower standards. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.