The findings of the investigation by the New York State Attorney General left little room for doubt about Governor Andrew Cuomo’s humiliating treatment of some women who have worked on his team and forced him to resign yesterday. The Democratic politician, who was in his third term and who in 2018 toughened the laws to combat sexual abuse, had no other way out and his party demanded his withdrawal. Eleven women have offered their testimony for the elaboration of the overwhelming report made public last week. His insistence on staying in office could only hurt Democrats: In the end, he has given in to pressure.
In a year, the governor, whose daily press conferences received applause for his firmness in the face of the COVID crisis and his stance against then-President Trump’s denial of the pandemic, has become a focus of problems. His management of the pandemic, in addition, has been questioned when it was confirmed that he did not count in the census of deceased elderly those who were transferred from residences to hospitals. The New York State Administration recorded 8,500 deaths in residences, but the true figure stands at 15,000.
Since the first accusation came out in December 2020, to which new testimonies and complaints were added in February and March, the pressure against Cuomo has not stopped. The version he offered in a statement five months ago in which he stated that what he considered “jokes” has turned out to “hurt sensibilities” has been of no use to him. The evidence that indicates this is overwhelming and goes beyond comments, since there were non-consensual kisses and touching. Sexual approaches by a boss towards his subordinates today are not accepted as mere hazards of the trade. This week the resignation of his closest collaborator and right handMelissa DeRosa further underscored the incongruity of Cuomo holding on to his chair, willing even to fight a impeachment.
Cuomo happens to be one more of the list of politicians who have behaved as if everything was allowed to them. Like Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who left his post on allegations of violence and abuse. Three years after the Me Too movement, there are still many unacceptable behaviors towards women that cannot be eradicated. But now they take their toll. The departure of Cuomo also allows the arrival of what will be the first governor of the State of New York, Kathy Hochul. The world is definitely another.