In the urban dictionary of the United States there is the term What Cuomo. A play on words between quid pro quo [algo a cambio de algo] and the last name of the Democratic Governor of New York State, Andrew Cuomo. The online glossary describes it like this: “An example of corruption that is severe and blatantly public. An abuse of power that the abuser does not bother to try to cover up ”. It was coined in 2014 by a group of parents, advocates of public schools, who protested against the Democrat for promoting protectionist measures in favor of charters – free educational centers that receive public funds, but that operate independently – in the interest of their campaign funders. The anecdote was forgotten, but not in popular jargon.
Cuomo (Queens, New York, 63 years old) is a Democrat of Italian origin who boasts of not belonging to the establishment and being a progressive outsider, but one who has been involved in politics for almost a lifetime. Now his career is in jeopardy due to the accusations of sexual harassment against him corroborated this week by the Prosecutor’s Office.
Son of Mario Cuomo, governor of New York for 12 years, he worked since he was in his twenties as his father’s campaign manager and later as an advisor. Already then he built a reputation for being arrogant, unscrupulous and with ambition the size of the Empire State Building. The press called him the Prince of Darkness. For his father’s third term in 1990, Cuomo joined one of America’s leading political dynasties by marrying Kerry Kennedy, daughter of the assassinated Attorney General Robert Kennedy.
The first setback came in 2002, when he abandoned his first candidacy for governor of New York over a controversial phrase against the then Republican governor after the national commotion over 9/11. Right away, Kennedy, with whom he has three daughters, asked for a divorce. Cuomo returned to the path of power when he became state attorney general. With an influential last name, the reputation of being a competent man, and the speech of the middle-class Italian-American kid from Queens who understands the streets better than Washington politicians, he is now serving his third term as New York governor, with aspirations to land a job. quarter. His plan was going well. Extremely fine.
When New York embodied the darkest face of the pandemic and needed a hero, there was Andrew Cuomo. In the midst of the silence of the State, the governor’s voice was heard daily in front of the cameras to speak of vulnerability, of community and to give clear guidelines in the face of the chaos of Donald Trump’s White House. In a matter of weeks, he connected with neighbors and with millions of citizens across the country who were already looking at him with presidential eyes. So much so that he won an Emmy for his interventions on the covid. He left the television appearances with a 70% approval, the same percentage of New Yorkers who today ask for his resignation after a prosecution investigation concluded this week that he sexually harassed 11 women and retaliated who complained in public.
In the devastating 165-page report commissioned by New York Attorney General Letitia James, it is clear that the governor used a pattern of behavior with his employees: he asked them to help him find a girlfriend, he asked them if they would be with an older man, and if they were monogamous … Sometimes he was more explicit and questioned them for not wearing a dress or makeup. He confessed to one that he felt lonely and wanted to be touched. The physical assaults also met certain patterns. He grabbed their butts when they took a selfie, touched their breasts with the excuse of appreciating a detail of their wardrobe, and kissed them on the cheeks, hands and some on the mouth.
The temperament and bad character that characterized him throughout his career, but which were erased from the collective unconscious in the pandemic, came out again. The complainants told investigators that they avoided angering him for fear of reprisals and, based on the evidence, the Prosecutor’s Office described his behavior as “vindictive”. In social networks there were those who remembered the What Cuomo.
The governor denies everything. After the first accusations, several of the complainants decided to break their silence when they heard him say in March that he had never touched someone inappropriately. The heavyweights at the top of the Democratic Party evaded the scandal for months, waiting for the official report. Once it was made public on Tuesday, even the president himself, Joe Biden, asked Cuomo to resign. Senators, congressmen and mayors of his party and the Republican have demanded the same, but the governor is castled, although every day more cornered and alone.
The state Assembly – controlled by the Democrats – prepares an investigation to launch a impeachment (impeachment) against the governor and increases the chances that he will have to face criminal proceedings. An employee filed the first criminal complaint against the Democrat last Friday and prosecutors in several New York counties have encouraged women who spoke with the prosecution to do the same.
In the months leading up to the 2020 presidential campaign, before the health crisis and cuomomania, the media used to ask the Democrat if he would run as a candidate. Cuomo had a ready answer: “I’m going to finish my third term as governor of New York unless God kills me.” He may be on the defensive now.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.