A Governor in Isolation: How Andrew Cuomo Lost His Grip on New York

When Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo came under fire just a few weeks ago over his handling of nursing home deaths in the pandemic, he and his top advisers followed their usual playbook to stem the fallout: They worked the phones, pressing his case in private calls to legislators and other New York Democrats.

Then came a crisis that Mr. Cuomo’s signature blend of threats, flattery and browbeating could not mitigate. And he seemed to know it.

As three women stepped forward with claims of sexual harassment and other unwanted advances by Mr. Cuomo, the most visible governor in America effectively went dark.

After one of the women detailed her accusations against the governor in a Medium post, State Senator Liz Krueger, a Manhattan Democrat, decided that she would come out with a statement calling for an independent investigation — an implicit rebuke of Mr. Cuomo. She reached out to the governor’s team to alert them, aware of the typical angry response.

No call came, she said.

“None of my colleagues have said they have heard from the governor on this,” Ms. Krueger said of the harassment accusations.

At the greatest moment of political peril for Mr. Cuomo in his decade in power, interviews with nearly two dozen Democratic lawmakers, strategists and Albany veterans paint a portrait of a governor who is increasingly isolated.

Mr. Cuomo faces a federal inquiry into his administration’s handling of nursing home deaths during the pandemic and an independent investigation into the harassment allegations, making his political path forward more challenging by the day.

On Friday, the State Legislature, which is controlled by Democrats, passed legislation to significantly curtail Mr. Cuomo’s vast emergency powers. When the governor appeared to suggest that he had played a role in the bill’s formulation, Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie — not prone to criticizing Mr. Cuomo — immediately shot that down, pointedly saying in a statement that “we did not negotiate this bill with the governor.”

Other lawmakers on Friday escalated their calls to reprimand the governor, demanding investigations, impeachment proceedings and even resignations, after The New York Times reported that his administration had rewritten a report to obscure the full extent of nursing home deaths.

“If true, everyone involved in lying to the public and to the Legislature must resign immediately,” said State Senator Rachel May, a Democrat from Syracuse. “And that includes the governor.”

It is an extraordinary turnaround for the man who was former President Donald J. Trump’s most prominent foil in the early months of the pandemic and whose power in New York appeared nearly unassailable as 2021 began.

Some people who have spoken to Mr. Cuomo in recent days have described him as shaken by the speed with which the political fallout arrived, with dueling scandals and reports of his bullying behavior all converging, very publicly, at once. Others have questioned whether he grasped the gravity of his circumstances.

But the rapidly unfurling crises, they said, have been especially challenging for a governor who has always sought to be in control. Now he is at the whims of often-fickle public opinion, fuming legislators and investigations.

Read more at MSN News

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