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'He's a Bully': Double Scandals Reveal the Real Cuomo New Yorkers Have Known for Years

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It was Andrew Cuomo’s Emmy-winning performance: daily televised coronavirus briefings that won the New York governor widespread praise from the left.

Now, Americans are getting a close-up of a very different governor, one accused of underreporting COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes, sexually harassing female staffers and bullying colleagues.

To New Yorkers who have watched the Democrat for years, however, the allegations are consistent with how Cuomo maintains his tight grip on power. The same forceful, even adversarial style that has characterized his three terms as governor could now lead to his undoing.

“There are a lot of New Yorkers who have known Cuomo and his behavior who are saying it’s time for his comeuppance,” Fordham University political scientist Christina Greer said.

Cuomo, 63, said Wednesday that he would not resign, and told those demanding his departure to await the results of an independent investigation into the harassment allegations, overseen by Democratic state Attorney General Letitia James.

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Cuomo apologized for making women uncomfortable but denied touching anyone inappropriately.

“I understand sensitivities have changed. Behavior has changed,” Cuomo said. “I get it and I’m going to learn from it.”

Former aide Lindsey Boylan, 36, accused Cuomo of persistent harassment, including kissing her without consent and suggesting a game of strip poker aboard his state-owned jet.

Another former aide, Charlotte Bennett, 25, said Cuomo asked if she ever had sex with older men and said he was fine dating “anyone above the age of 22.”

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A third woman, Anna Ruch, told The New York Times that Cuomo put his hands on her face and asked if he could kiss her just moments after they met at a 2019 wedding.

Cuomo’s administration is also under federal investigation after it underreported deaths in nursing homes following his decision to open those facilities to recovering COVID-19 patients.

For months, the state refused to say how many nursing home patients had died after being transferred to hospitals, even reportedly editing the number out of a report released in July.

One Cuomo staffer said the data was concealed because it could have been “used against us” in a federal investigation.

Assemblyman Ron Kim, a Democrat who blasted Cuomo over New York’s nursing home deaths, said Cuomo called and threatened to “destroy” him if he didn’t retract his criticism.

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Cuomo has denied saying those words. He’s also defended the state’s record on nursing home deaths, though he said his administration should have moved faster to release the data.

But the threatening language sounded familiar to Republican Rob Astorino, who challenged Cuomo in 2014.

Cuomo’s campaign obtained, digitally altered and used a family photo of Astorino and his 11-year-old son at a Miami Dolphins football game in an attack ad to question Astorino’s loyalty to New York.

“He has screamed at me, cursed at me, threatened me: It’s a pattern of behavior with him, and it’s the worst-kept secret in New York,” Astorino said.

“On a good day, he’s a bully. On a bad day, he’s what we’re seeing now.”

Cuomo refused to even say hello to his 2014 primary opponent, Zephyr Teachout, when she approached him at a parade, later joking he didn’t see her.

In 2018, a national organization for dwarfs lodged a complaint after Cuomo’s campaign repeatedly mocked his opponent’s height.

Senior aides have adopted Cuomo’s abrasive approach, berating journalists and lawmakers who question the administration.

In 2019, when three female lawmakers criticized Cuomo for holding a $25,000-a-couple fundraiser amid state budget negotiations, Cuomo’s spokesperson dismissed them as “idiots,” adding profanity.

“The irony of this whole thing is: If he’s so tough, then why is his skin so thin?” asked one of those lawmakers, Democratic state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi.

Biaggi is among several lawmakers from both parties calling for Cuomo’s resignation.


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