The calls for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign have reached a peak in light of the report by the Democrat-led state's Attorney General Letitia James.
Even though James and the attorney general's office rules in favor of legitimacy for the accusers, the governor of New York isn't budging.
The current governor of New York was given eleven hours to present his own testimony. He was given a fair shake. In short, what happened Tuesday for Cuomo was that a months-long investigation was completed. 179 people were interviewed in relation to claims of sexual harassment by Cuomo between 2013 and 2020. The attorney general's report details and explores at length 11 cases that took place.
The diligence came due. Cuomo's stated reasons for not stepping down included the need to continue facing tough ongoing challenges for the sake of the state. But there's no confidence from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, eleven Democrat New Yorkers in the House of Representatives, various state-level assembly members, and Mayor Bill de Blasio.
CNN editor-at-large Chris Cillizza predicted Monday that the 35 words from the investigators will "almost certainly" end Cuomo's political career: "We, the investigators appointed to conduct an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, conclude that the Governor engaged in conduct constituting sexual harassment under federal and New York State law."
Despite all of President Joe Biden's other shortcomings, he decided to stand by his earlier March statement and respect the outcome of the attorney general's investigation. The president reiterated that Cuomo ought to resign. "Are you now calling on him to resign?" Biden was asked, to which he answered: "Yes."
At the heart of the mess is the double standard showcased by Cuomo. As news of the attorney general's report broke Tuesday, the impulse reaction of Twitter users was to dig up the old statements from Cuomo's account, the ones where he acted as if he was the best advocate for women and survivors of sexual assault everywhere.
"There should be a zero tolerance policy when it comes to sexual harassment & must send a clear message that this behavior is not tolerated," he tweeted in 2013.
"To stop the pervasive poison of workplace sexual harassment I am proposing a package of reforms that will increase accountability in both the private and public sector," Cuomo declared in January 2018.
"The allegations of sexual assault against Judge Kavanaugh are disturbing and deeply concerning. We owe it to the American people to #BelieveSurvivors. I call on the Senate to postpone any vote until these allegations are fully investigated," Cuomo wrote later on in 2018 in opposition to then-Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation amid similar allegations.
At a press conference ahead of Kavanaugh's confirmation, Cuomo called the GOP's handling of the confirmation process "disgusting" and claimed that Republicans often dismiss women's charges of sexual misconduct. Cuomo said it is "sexist and disgusting to second guess how a woman should have acted after a sexual attack."
If nothing else, Cuomo needs to go based on his retaliatory remarks against the establishment press, made Tuesday in response to the report's release: "Trial by newspaper, or biased reviews, are not the way to find the facts in this matter."
But that goes against what his own office believes.
As the report from James outlines on page 160, staffers in Cuomo's executive chambers sent confidential files to members of the press, in retaliation to former aide Lindsey Boylan publicly accusing him of sexual harassment:
"In response to Ms. Boylan's tweet, several current and former Executive Chamber employees engaged in a flurry of communication, the Confidential Files about Ms. Boylan drafted by Mr. David were retrieved from counsel’s office, Mr. Azzopardi hunted for Wite-Out to redact the names of other employees from the Confidential Files (while leaving Ms. Boylan's name), and Mr. Azzopardi began transmitting the documents to reporters. They also asked reporters to hold off writing a story until they had received the documents."
That's a level of collusion and manipulation beyond even the concern about CNN's own Chris Cuomo helping his brother draft public statements in response to the sexual harassment allegations in the first place.
To use pictures of former presidents Bush and Obama hugging hurricane victims as so-called "evidence" that contact with other human beings whatsoever is permissible is an embarrassment to the state of New York.
The current divisive political and cultural climates need to restore a sense of consistency in American society. What the high-profile Democrat governor is facing right now is the standards he himself set into place throughout his political career. For the sake of his dignity, Cuomo should stand by his own words.