By Froma Harrop / syndicated columnist
Please explain again why New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo must resign. Or, put another way, what gives his political opponents, many of them fellow Democrats, the right to undo an election on the basis of unverified assertions of sexual misconduct; some ridiculously trivial, none involving violence or threat to careers, several open to innocent interpretations.
The comments on news stories should warn the political swarm of growing public annoyance at this massive pile-on against a governor most New Yorkers still consider effective.
Cuomo made some missteps early in the pandemic, but when the dimensions of the crisis were known, he took a national lead in implementing painful measures to curb the spread. He calmed a scared public at a time when President Trump was clowning around. He won national respect and, for that, became a prime target of the right.
And so, are Democrats now to take him down on claims that he held a female staffer’s hand too long? Or that he kissed a woman on the cheek at a wedding party?
Destined to live in infamy is a demand by New York’s two Democratic senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, that Cuomo resign. “Due to the multiple, credible sexual harassment and misconduct allegations,” they state, “it is clear that Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of his governing partners and the people of New York.”
First off, an allegation, the Cambridge Dictionary says, is “a statement, made without giving proof, that someone has done something wrong or illegal.” If you find these claims “credible,” why not wait for the independent investigation by the state attorney general?
And what are the allegations? The most serious one — that Cuomo groped a woman at the governor’s mansion — comes from an “unidentified” aide. Since when did an unproven claim by an unknown accuser warrant the removal of a governor?
Some of the other charges would be laughable if anyone around here still had a sense of humor. The best one comes from accuser No. 4, who complains that Cuomo kissed her hand. Hand-kissing, in today’s culture, is a vaguely comical gesture.
Cuomo understandably hit back at Schumer and Gillibrand. “The people of New York,” he said, “should not have confidence in a politician who takes a position without knowing any facts or substance.”
Once again, Democrats are devouring their own. Many see a repeat of the Al Franken debacle in which Gillibrand pushed the popular senator from Minnesota to resign over a stupid, jokey photo.
Recall the hysteria over a woman’s complaint that Joe Biden nuzzled the back of her head? That set the woke herd on a stampede, and soon, media were taking seriously a woman’s whacko charge that Biden had penetrated her with his fingers.
As The New York Times reported last September, “Last year, Ms. Reade and seven other women came forward to accuse Mr. Biden of kissing, hugging or touching them in ways that made them feel uncomfortable.”
Reade, it was later learned, had a troubled personal history. If this had gone further, Democrats, you might have been into Donald Trump’s second term.
Of course, Cuomo’s political foes see opportunity in getting rid of a formidable foe without having to run against him. As of now, Cuomo is vying for a fourth term.
Reports that Cuomo hid the number of nursing home deaths from COVID-19 are more disturbing, but that’s not what set off the cries for his head. It was, as Cuomo himself conceded, the “unwanted flirtation.”
Whether Cuomo has lost the confidence of New Yorkers can be made clear on Election Day 2022. The voters should have a say in this, don’t you think?
Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. Email her at email@example.com.