Now they notice. Former Cuomo aide Lindsey Boylan must be thinking, 'yeah I told you guys.' In a fresh piece from Politico, Cuomo is accused of using his phone as a "weapon" against those who've crossed him. "Many describe receiving angry calls late in the evening and being unable to get off the phone with New York’s most powerful official," the sub-headline reads. Given everything we know, including the allegations and comments in this post alone, do any of these details surprise you? The story begins with an anecdote about Cuomo raging at a Republican Congressman over the 2017 tax bill, then continues:
Similar experiences for other New York political figures, only a fraction of which are public knowledge, have become commonplace in recent years and transcend political affiliation and other dividing lines. Many describe receiving angry calls late in the evening, or at other inopportune times, and being unable to get off the phone with New York’s most powerful official. Warnings and browbeating aren’t unusual, say those familiar with the governor’s approach. “Anybody who knows the Cuomo administration knows that threats are what they consider their charm,” said a former Democratic elected official who has been on the end of several such calls. Now, Cuomo’s cutthroat tactics — already the stuff of legend in Albany’s halls of power — have been on full display as the Democratic governor faces his biggest firestorm in years over his administration’s handling of nursing home fatalities during Covid-19 and his unsparing treatment of lawmakers who have dared to step out against him...
Such is life on the wrong side of Cuomo, whose credo for those who stand in his path was coined early in his first term by one of their own: “We operate on two speeds here: Get along, and kill," Steve Cohen, then Cuomo’s top aide, said in an exchange first reported by the Connecticut Post in 2011. The characterization, which came during a contentious discussion with former Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy’s team, has come to define the Queens native’s modus operandi to the point of becoming a cliché in New York political circles. (POLITICO on Thursday confirmed the 2011 exchange with multiple people around Malloy at the time.) The proverb has even become something akin to a badge of honor for some Cuomo staffers in the years since, cocksure in their belief of their boss' singular ability to bend the state government apparatus to fulfill his vision of Democratic politics.
"Get along, and kill." Charming. Sadly, we know which of those outcomes thousands of New York seniors faced, due to the governor's deadly policy -- which he's been working tirelessly to cover up since May. In a Twitter thread posted last night, "Cuomo's cutthroat tactics" were highlighted by a young man who was targeted in an unbelievably unethical way back when he was working on a GOP campaign against Cuomo in 2010. The man says he was in his early 20's, gay, progressive, but working on behalf of his uncle, the Republican gubernatorial nominee in New York, hoping to help end corruption in the state. That's when this allegedly happened:
We exchanged photos right away, traded phone numbers, and started talking on the phone nightly. We really hit it off over the phone. He shared with me some of his deepest and darkest secrets about his childhood and his family, and I did the same. 20/33— Jeff Hannon (@Jeffrey_Hannon) February 19, 2021
I fell in love with him. 22/33— Jeff Hannon (@Jeffrey_Hannon) February 19, 2021
Hannon writes, "this lasted for most of August, and then he ghosted me and disappeared. His phone went straight to voicemail, and his online account was deleted. I was heartbroken and devastated." He says that about a month later, his uncle made some homophobic remarks at an event. Texts and messages started pouring in, and "the next day, out of the blue, Daniel Wilhelm reappeared:"
I had been catfished by Andrew Cuomo's campaign. 28/33— Jeff Hannon (@Jeffrey_Hannon) February 19, 2021
"Daniel’s phone number was deactivated, his photo was of some male model, and his stories were all made up. I had been tricked," he continues. "I was devastated, heartbroken. I felt so vulnerable and violated. I had no one to talk to about it. Not only had I been catfished, but I had also unintentionally been feeding this man all sorts of deeply personal information about me and my family...I became depressed and suicidal...The bottom line is what kind of person would catfish a 23-year old to win a campaign. That man is Andrew Cuomo." This form of cruelty and vindictiveness have been Cuomo's calling cards for years, yet the press have acted as his pets throughout the pandemic. Part of the explanation why is partisan politics, but part of it may also be intimidation:
I was told by a journalist off the record not to speak up, because the governor destroys people for doing that. A journalist!— Lindsey Boylan (@LindseyBoylan) February 19, 2021
The big difference is that standing up to hostility and 'speaking truth to power' was the ultimate journalistic virtue when the target was President Trump. Cuomo got mostly pompoms. I'll leave you with this -- is there anything, big or small, team Cuomo won't lie about?
For context: Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor, said this during a call with Democratic legislators.— Robert Harding (@RobertHarding) February 19, 2021
The relevant line: "The Governor speaks on a regular basis with Dr. Fauci, and Dr. Michael Osterholm. I would say those are two of the people that are chief advisors." https://t.co/DwM89DqzHr