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Politics

Cuomo ends his year in the limelight by going into hiding


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo walks through a vaccination site Feb. 22 in Brooklyn.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s schedule listed no public occasions for Sunday, which, if unchanged, would mark the sixth straight day he has gone with out taking questions from the press. | Seth Wenig, Pool/AP Photograph

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ALBANY — Sunday marked the 365th day since the first New Yorker examined optimistic for the coronavirus, concluding a year outlined in giant half by the omnipresence of Gov. Andrew Cuomo on tv screens all through the state and nation.

Cuomo appeared poised to spend the day in hiding. And even when he does emerge later in the day, he has made it clear that he is not going to focus on a New York Instances report detailing the account of a second woman who has alleged sexual harassment by the governor.

As of mid-Sunday morning, Cuomo’s schedule listed no public occasions for that day. If that doesn’t change, it will mark the sixth straight day Cuomo has gone with out taking questions from the press. That might be the longest such streak since the pandemic started.

Disappearing in instances of disaster is a time-honored Cuomo technique. After the Instances detailed his administration’s meddling in a supposedly impartial Moreland Fee to Examine Public Corruption in 2014, he utterly dropped off the grid for 5 days, although he was in the midst of a reelection marketing campaign.

However the present silence stands out much more, on condition that it coincides with the conclusion of a year in which he performed 418 press briefings, tv appearances and radio interviews, and received an Emmy for his televised briefings when New York was the heart of the pandemic final spring.

“As soon as upon a time, the Cuomo playbook of ‘wait it out’ would have labored,” stated Monica Klein, a Democratic marketing consultant who has usually been important of the governor. “However as a result of he’s completed these day by day press conferences this previous year, it’s now notable and problematic when he tries to vanish from the public eye.”

Cuomo’s assertion shortly after Saturday night time’s Instances story about the new harassment allegation steered that his silence will proceed, at the very least on the topic of his conduct.

“This case can’t and shouldn’t be resolved in the press; I consider the finest method to get to the reality is thru a full and thorough outdoors evaluation and I’m directing all state workers to adjust to that effort,” Cuomo stated. “I ask all New Yorkers to await the findings of the evaluation in order that they know the information earlier than making any judgments. I’ll haven’t any additional remark till the evaluation has concluded.”

That evaluation and who ought to conduct it shortly emerged as a degree of rivalry.

Cuomo’s administration introduced on Saturday night time that it had chosen former federal choose Barbara Jones to conduct an “impartial evaluation.”

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None of the many legislators who’ve been demanding “impartial” critiques since the first allegations of harassment emerged on Wednesday appeared placated by this selection. Jones, notably, once worked with longtime Cuomo friend Steven Cohen at a Manhattan regulation agency. And Cuomo’s lengthy historical past of getting concerned in “impartial” investigations performed by folks he appoints — together with, for instance, the aforementioned Moreland Fee — led to lawmakers demanding that he haven’t any function in choosing the investigator.

“A really impartial investigation should start instantly,” Senate Majority Chief Andrea Stewart-Cousins stated in a Saturday night time assertion. “A really impartial investigation is warranted,” Meeting Speaker Carl Heastie stated in a separate assertion.

Each subsequently clarified that they don’t think about Jones’ appointment as “actually impartial.”

“We consider the [state] Lawyer Basic’s workplace ought to deal with the investigation,” a Stewart-Cousins spokesperson stated.

If there’s something resembling a shiny aspect for Cuomo as he makes an attempt to hold on for his political life, it’s that the statements from the legislators who would play a job in any potential impeachment trials have been targeted on the concept of an investigation. A couple of members known as for his resignation — “You’re a monster, and it’s time so that you can go,” Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (D-Westchester) wrote in a tweet directed at Cuomo — although this group was largely restricted to the individuals who have been floating the concept of a pressured elimination for weeks.

However the newest allegations actually present fodder for these hoping to take a direct more durable line towards the governor.

Meeting Minority Chief Will Barclay, considered one of Albany’s two highest-ranking Republicans, had already launched a decision to ascertain a fee to discover the chance of impeaching Cuomo over his administration’s ongoing nursing house scandal.

Barclay stated he was not sure if the harassment allegations rose to the sort of felony conduct that may even be thought-about impeachable. However he did say that they helped make the case about why lawmakers ought to finish the emergency powers that has allowed Cuomo difficulty legally binding decrees.

“There’s a degree of belief you must have between the Legislature and the govt department, and in addition the govt department and the folks. That belief is shortly eroding,” Barclay stated.

“The governor was on the market all by means of this pandemic saying what an excellent job he did as governor. I feel that’s possibly inflicting much more issues as a result of he didn’t acknowledge that errors have been made,” he stated. “Now, due to that, many individuals aren’t prepared to provide him any passes, nor ought to we.”

CORRECTION: An earlier model of this report incorrectly recognized Democratic marketing consultant Monica Klein.

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