Disgraced Scandal-Plagued Gov. Cuomo In Farewell Address Plays Victim While Blaming ‘Political Pressure And Media Frenzy’ For Resignation

Disgraced Scandal-Plagued Gov. Cuomo In Farewell Address Plays Victim While Blaming ‘Political Pressure And Media Frenzy’ For Resignation

Mona Salama
Mona Salama
|
August 23, 2021

On his final day in office, embattled New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) used his farewell address Monday to paint himself as a victim, complaining about the “unfair and unjust” treatment he received over the “intense political pressure and media frenzy” surrounding allegations leveled against him and decried it all as politically motivated.

Cuomo in his 16-minute prerecorded final speech began addressing yet took it as his final opportunity to use the office  to continue slamming the New York Attorney General’s report earlier this month that alleged the three-term governor exploited his powerful position to sexually harassed nearly a dozen current and former staffers, insisting the 165-page damning report was “designed to be a political firecracker on an explosive topic.”

“There will be another time to talk about the truth and ethics of the recent situation involving me, but let me say now that, when government politicizes allegations and the headlines condemn without facts, you undermine the justice system — and that doesn’t serve women and it doesn’t serve men or society. Of course, everyone has a right to come forward and we applaud their bravery and courage in doing so, but allegations must still be scrutinized and verified whether made by a woman or a man. That is our basic justice system,” Cuomo said.

“I understand that there are moments of intense political pressure and media frenzy that cause a rush to judgment. But that is not right. It’s not fair or sustainable. Facts still matter,” Cuomo continued. “A firecracker can start a stampede but at one point everyone looks around and says, why are we running? The truth is ultimately always revealed.”

“The Attorney General’s report was designed to be a political firecracker on an explosive topic. And it worked. There was a political and media stampede. But the truth will out in time – of that I am confident,” Cuomo added.

After he once again questioned the fairness over the AG report that found he sexually harassed 11 women, Cuomo went on to characterize his resignation as one of selflessness to prevent “governmental paralysis.”

“You know me. I am a fighter, and my instinct is to fight this because it is unfair and unjust in my mind,” Cuomo said. “But you also know that I love New York, and I serve you. That is the oath that I took. And in this moment, I believe the right thing, is that my service comes first.”

He added: “Prolonging this situation could only cause governmental paralysis. And that is just not an option for you, and not an option for the state, especially now. There is real work to be done, and it will require government to function at the highest level.”

Cuomo announced his resignation two weeks ago, after facing immense political and public pressure during the week he refused to step down following a bombshell report that laid out in damning detail by Attorney General Letitia James and the 11 women who accused him of sexual harassment.

The barely three-term governor, who reportedly recorded his speech last week at the Executive Mansion in Albany where he was living the last decade, also listed of achievements as governor, including bragging about his “accomplished” handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, where he made over $5 million on a memoir book, despite his horrific handling of nursing home COVID related death of over 15,000 residents and is the state with the highest death toll nationwide.

New York State Republican Committee Chairman Nick Langworthy called Cuomo’s prerecorded speech a “disgusting display” that gave him “another opportunity to congratulate himself.”

“It was a disgusting display, but a classic narcissist isn’t going to exit the stage quietly,” Langworthy said. “Normally, people slink away quietly, but this guy had several press conferences in the last couple of days — and no one is listening.”

In his dwindling hours as governor, Cuomo granted clemency to six men, issuing one pardon and commuting the sentences of five individuals. The most notable case involved David Gilbert, the leader of a radical left-wing militant organization, the Weather Underground. Gilbert participated in the infamous 1981 robbery of a Brink’s armored car in Rockland County, N.Y., that left a guard and two police officers dead. While the communication wouldn’t undo Gilbert’s conviction on second-degree murder and robbery charges, it makes him eligible for parole; his case will be referred to the state parole board for possible release.

Cuomo kept out of sight since following his announcement that he was stepping down on Aug. 10. He filed his retirement papers with the state last week before submitting a resignation letter. It wasn’t within the last few hours before leaving, he officially submitted his letter to Senate and Assembly leaders, as per New York law.

Melissa DeRosa, his top aide told reporters Monday that Cuomo does not plan to run for office again, a statement difficult to believe since he spent over four decades in the political world and has over $18 million campaign war chest.

“He looks forward to spending time with his family and has a lot of fishing to catch up on. He is exploring a number of options but has no interest in running for office again,” DeRosa said in a statement.

Cuomo was planning a run for a fourth term next year. Instead, he is set to leave office Monday at 11:59 p.m ET.

The state Assembly is planning to release a report detailing their findings from their multi-pronged impeachment probe — which not only includes the sexual harassment allegations, but also Cuomo’s administration handling of nursing home COVID death data amid the pandemic, the alleged misuse of state resources tied to the production of his $5.1 million book deal and the construction of the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will become New York’s first female governor when she is sworn in as the 57th Governor of New York at midnight in a private ceremony with her family. Hochul is expected to hold a public inauguration ceremony in Albany Tuesday and will announce her Lieutenant Governor pick later this week, who will reportedly come from downstate New York.

Mona Salama

Mona Salama

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