In a remarkably candid new interview, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D., said it was “traumatizing” and “heartbreaking” to see friends like President Biden and other top Democrats not stand by him when a wave of sexual harassment allegations derailed his career last year.
Asked by New York Post columnist Cindy Adams what friends were with him last year as his governorship collapsed over the misconduct accusations, he replied, “Nobody.” What followed was a series of name-dropping of prominent Democrats who he felt wounded by, likening himself to a “piece of meat,” as well as making a hint at another run for office.
“It was tough. Traumatizing. Biden, a friend 20 years, not knowing details, immediately said about me, ‘He’s got to go.’ Biden had troubles years before and I stood by him,” Cuomo said. “Gave him the benefit of the doubt. It was heartbreaking to see him trash me without reading one page, making one phone call.”
He also blasted Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and former President Obama, as well as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.
“I know [Pelosi] 30 years,” he said. “Her daughter worked for me. Obama? He’s been tough. When troubles come you like to think you’re different. You’re not. Enemies and haters accumulate. [Chuck] Schumer, [Kirsten] Gillibrand, pals working in the state, friends I respected, fell like dominos. Lose your power and heartless politicians read the tea leaves. You’re dead. Over. Pols grab another piece of meat. The phrase ‘political friends’ is an oxymoron.”
Biden and Pelosi were among the leading Democrats who said Cuomo should resign last year as the allegations mounted.
Cuomo, the son of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, D., said he saw his father’s own “vulnerabilities” exposed during his political career. His own crisis swept up his brother, former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, who was fired from the network last year in part over his extensive involvement in the governor’s political defense.
Infamous for his abrasive personality, Cuomo made no apologies.
“OK, I’m not warm and fuzzy. What politician is? Maybe my duality started when my father was no longer governor. I saw him hurt. His vulnerabilities exposed. They broke his heart. The press next crucified me, his campaign manager kid. So I learned then not to expose a weakness or show your inner self,” he said.
The younger Cuomo worked in the Clinton administration before rising in New York politics and winning three terms as the state’s governor. Once viewed as a possible Democratic presidential contender and praised in the media for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, Cuomo’s star fell rapidly beginning in late 2020 over his nursing home directive that may have caused thousands of deaths. Then followed the cascade of sexual harassment allegations; ultimately, at least 11 women accused him of various forms of violations of state and federal law in an investigation by state Attorney General Letitia James, D.
He resigned last August, admitting he had made women uncomfortable with his words and touching, but he maintained he had never “crossed the line.” Cuomo said James’ investigation betrayed a “lack of fairness in the justice system.”
He appeared to take a shot at his successor in his interview with Adams, calling Gov. Kathy Hochul, D., who assumed the office upon his resignation, “well-meaning.”
“I’m a lawyer who can rep clients in corporations, finance, government relations, real estate people. I can earn money. And I’ll express my opinion in the next few weeks. But right now nice, well-meaning, hardworking Hochul’s your best alternative,” he said.
Cuomo hinted New York hadn’t seen the last of him. Observers thought his resignation was in part motivated by a desire to run again; had he been impeached by the state assembly, he would have been barred from holding state office again.
“Look, my interest is public service. There are no term limits, so I can make another go in four years. I’m someone who delivers. And who knows, could be there’s nobody to beat me. Also, who knows — maybe by then I’ll be sweeter,” he said.
Divorced since 2005, he added he’s currently “available.”