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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to resign on Tuesday amid nearly a dozen sexual harassment and groping allegations caught some lawmakers off guard and sent shockwaves that will be felt in the state for a long time. We covered a lot of these in The Uprising’s discussion thread yesterday including the race for his successor that is already shaping up and the fate of the many ongoing investigations into the governor.
Another big question is whether Cuomo will still be impeached. In his remarks, Cuomo referenced the impeachment proceedings ramping up in the Assembly and suggested they would be a wasteful process that would “brutalize people.”
“The state Assembly yesterday outlined weeks of process that will then lead to months of litigation, time and money that government should spend managing COVID,” Cuomo said.
However, Cuomo’s critics in the legislature want Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, who controls much of the process, to continue the impeachment push even after the governor’s exit. Heastie, who did not respond to a request for comment, has previously been accused of dragging his feet on impeachment. State Sen. Gustavo Rivera, a Democrat who has been an outspoken opponent of the governor, was cautiously optimistic when asked if he thought Heastie would keep impeachment on the table.
“I hope so,” Rivera said.
Looming over all of this is the potential for the attorney general to release interview transcripts from the investigation into Cuomo’s conduct. Those likely have some more unflattering details of Cuomo and his team’s efforts to fight the allegations.
A formal impeachment would block Cuomo from receiving a pension and potentially mounting another run for office. And that’s technically still a possibility. In his resignation, even as he cast himself as the victim of a “politically motivated” attack, Cuomo apologized and vowed to step down in 14 days. While he didn’t rule out a future run for office, one source close to the governor told The Uprising he is unlikely to mount a comeback bid and described the decision not to express that as “just his pride.”
GOTHAM: Cuomo’s impeachment will also have implications in New York City. The governor infamously feuded with Mayor Bill de Blasio. The next mayor, likely Eric Adams, is going to be in a far different position as someone who is likely to have leverage with all of the Democrats hoping to win the election for Cuomo’s replacement (and that includes the woman who will initially replace Cuomo, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul). A source close to Adams suggested the mayoral frontrunner was well aware of his stronger standing and cited a recent event Cuomo had with Adams while the scandal unfolded as proof of how the tables had turned.
“It was pretty good when he was begging to bask in Eric’s glow three weeks ago,” the source said of Cuomo.
EXTENSION: The extra time Cuomo gave himself in office has some of his critics worried. Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who has been floated as a potential candidate to replace Cuomo, expressed concern about the governor’s overtime in a podcast appearance on Tuesday.
“"I was a little taken aback that he said his resignation is effective in 14 days — and it may be overly cynical on my part — but I believe that Andrew Cuomo was a person of mischief,” Bharara said.
Both the governor’s office and Bharara did not respond to requests for comment.
CRINGE: In his resignation speech, Cuomo somehow tried to simultaneously express empathy and even appreciation for his accusers while characterizing their accusations as “unfair and untruthful.” He also cast an emotional, intimate tone. Cuomo used the word love six times in his approximately 21 minute remarks to describe his feelings for the state and his record.
“New York tough means New York loving, and I love New York, and I love you,” Cuomo said.
MESSY BREAKUPS: This scandal has put the people for the self-described “Cuomosexuals” who proclaimed public crushes on the governor during his televised pandemic briefings last year in a decidedly awkward position. Lingua Franca, a luxury cashmere company, is offering to restitch the $285 “Cuomosexual” and “Cuomo For President” sweaters they sold during the height of Cuomania.
Irene Sparacello, who operated two pro-Cuomo Instagram accounts that posted “#Cuomosexual” content has taken a far different tack. In a series of posts on her “All You Need Is Gov” page, Sparacello called the governor an “honourable family man” who faced “unproven allegations, most of them frivolous.” She also vowed not to take down the pages.
“The accounts stay, as my admiration and gratitude for the best Governor NY ever had. We love you @andrewcuomo,” Sparacello wrote.
PROGRAMMING NOTES: Cuomo’s fall is dominating the headlines this week. Breaking news — including the last Uprising exclusive — has kept me from doing regular roundups for a bit. I will be getting back to those over the next few days and then will make them a subscriber exclusive. Also keep an eye out for the Uprising book club chat! I have been prepping both text and video versions. The highlights will go out in the roundup, but only subscribers will be able to see the full conversation.
That’s all for today! If you haven’t already, please subscribe to The Uprising and tell your friends! And if you work in politics, please don’t forget to leave a (news) tip on your way out → firstname.lastname@example.org