The Staggering Rise and Rapid Fall of Andrew Cuomo

Once praised for his extraordinary Coronavirus response, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is now facing twin crises that could spell the end of his political career.


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Many of Governor Cuomo’s constituents in New York City, including some of his colleagues in the State Senate, have called for the Governor to resign or be impeached over his ongoing crises.

Andrew Cuomo, the Governor of New York, once lauded for his handling of the Coronavirus crisis in his state, is now facing twin crises in his political career. The Governor is accused of under-reporting nursing home deaths during the worst months of the COVID-19 pandemic, and of sexual harassment from a handful of former staffers. These developments have caused the public to turn on the once praised governor, with calls growing for him to resign from his governorship.

During the Coronavirus pandemic, Andrew Cuomo’s decisive action to stop the spread of Coronavirus was viewed very favorably by New Yorkers and the majority of Americans. In the early days of the pandemic, Coronavirus cases and deaths surged  in New York State, and Cuomo quickly became the voice of hope. During Cuomo’s daily Coronavirus briefings, millions tuned in to hear about the strides made in the fight against the virus. Cuomo’s actions during this time of crisis were so admired that he was even offered a $4-million book deal to write about the importance of strong leadership, which he accepted.

A week after these two crises exploded onto the scene, Cuomo spoke on the issue for the first time. The governor denied all allegations of sexual assault, but apologized if his actions over the years had ever made any of his coworkers “feel uncomfortable.” This apology was not viewed as adequate, and many, including members of the New York State Senate, have since called for him to resign. Cuomo claims that the growing calls for him to resign are premature, due to the ongoing probe that he ordered to investigate both the claims of sexual misconduct and under-reported nursing home deaths. 

Cuomo is now under investigation by the New York State attorney general Letitia James, who is also currently investigating former president Donald Trump and his business dealings. James is a well-respected professional in her field, known for arguing extremely strong cases, and always uncovering the truth. Therefore, Cuomo promises that if Letitica James’ investigation finds misconduct on his part he will resign, but not a single day before.

According to Quinnipiac University, only 55% of New Yorkers still have confidence in Cuomo to lead the state forward, down 17 points from his May 2020 approval rating of 72%. Although he has seen a noteworthy decrease in his support, this data confirms that the majority of New Yorkers do not want Cuomo to resign at this time. 

Cuomo still has support from the majority of democratic voters, many of whom say they will reserve judgment until the investigations into Cuomo’s crises conclude. Anya Zakharov ’21 said, “I am definitely following along with the investigation until it reaches a definitive conclusion.” Despite his current support, the majority of voters, both Democrat and Republican, would not like to see Cuomo run for governor again in 2022. Regardless of the outcome of the investigations, it seems like this will be Cuomo’s last term as New York Governor, putting his political future in jeopardy.

These crises are a major blow to Cuomo’s future political ambitions, regardless of their validity. Many people saw Cuomo as a possible candidate for President in 2024, as well as a strong candidate for the New York Senate. With these two controversies over his head, this seems much less likely to occur. Zakharov said, “Regardless of what the investigation finds, I think it’s going to be very difficult for Cuomo to continue his political career after these scandals.” At 63 years old, Cuomo would not be retiring young, but political figures often wish to continue to hold office into their later years. As of now, it seems like these twin scandals might mark the beginning of the end of Andrew Cuomo’s political career.

In 2022, if Cuomo decides to run again, the voters of New York State will be the ones to decide his fate. 

“Regardless of what the investigation finds, I think it’s going to be very difficult for Cuomo to continue his political career after these scandals,” said Anya Zakharov ’21.