Enough of this. The time has come for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to be impeached.
Cuomo has been ensnared in two scandals over the past few weeks. The first is about his administration’s cover-up of the scale of deaths in nursing homes during the pandemic. The second is about three different accusations of sexual harassment that have been leveled against him. The particulars of the scandals may be not be directly connected, but at their core, they both stem from the same issue: Cuomo is an abusive, corrupt, tyrannical figure who leads through fear and wields his power in the worst kinds of ways.
Thursday night saw major developments in both scandals. First, one of Cuomo’s accusers, former aide Charlotte Bennett, went on the CBS Evening News and gave a devastating account of his harassment. (Cuomo has not denied Bennett’s story, and has instead given a general apology for what he says were friendly comments that inadvertently made people feel uncomfortable.)
Bennett had shared the details with the New York Times, but seeing her recount them so starkly on television lent them a skin-crawling horror. It is impossible to watch Bennett and not conclude that Cuomo’s harassment was intentional and systemic.
Then, just a few hours later, the Times and the Wall Street Journal both reported that a group of Cuomo’s closest aides had intervened to remove data from a state health report which would have shown that the number of nursing home deaths during the pandemic was far greater than Cuomo had publicly acknowledged. As the Times noted, this new reporting completely undermines Cuomo’s initial excuse for covering up the nursing home statistics—that he wanted to avoid politicized scrutiny from the Trump administration—because the altered report was released in July 2020, weeks before the Justice Department and other lawmakers began inquiring about Cuomo’s handling of nursing homes.
Cuomo is well-known as an aggressive micromanager—”show me a person who is not highly controlling, and I’ll show you a person who is probably not highly successful,” he wrote in his book about his handling of the pandemic—so it beggars belief that his top aides would do something so drastic without his say-so. It amounts to a level of deceitful and callous corruption that crosses far beyond any line of ethical governance.
Either one of these scandals would be grounds for resignation. So too would Cuomo’s generally appalling mismanagement of the pandemic, which led to thousands and thousands of needless deaths, and his vindictive bullying campaign against the legislators who are trying to hold him to account.
But Cuomo has said he won’t be resigning. So it is time for the state legislature to begin impeachment proceedings against him. He has shown beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is unfit to be governor.
Impeachment in New York works pretty much the same way as it does in the federal government. It would not be difficult to come up with charges against Cuomo. Only one New York governor has ever been impeached, in 1913, but there’s no time like the present to change that fact.
A growing number of legislators are pushing for Cuomo’s impeachment. “It is time for the legislature to demand accountability,” six Democratic lawmakers, all of whom identify as socialists, wrote in a statement this week. “Impeachment proceedings are the appropriate avenue for us to pursue as legislators to hold the Governor accountable for his many abuses of power and remove him from office.”
Those legislators are correct. Enough is enough. Get Cuomo out.