Friday was not a good news day for Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, in what was already a bad week for him. We have The New York Times to thank for that.
The governor is facing an FBI probe for his handling of reporting death counts associated with COVID-19, with the more accurate numbers being over 15,000. The investigation is looking into whether the governor and senior aides provided false data to the Department of Justice. "False statements in such a submission could constitute a crime," The New York Times reported.
The actions, which came in recent weeks, appeared to add to the legal pressure faced by Mr. Cuomo, as well as by his most senior aides, who may have played a role in withholding the true count of nursing home deaths from the public for months.
Mr. Cuomo has faced scrutiny for months over his policies related to nursing homes. The question of how many nursing home residents had died — both in the facilities and after being treated at hospitals — became a political issue for Mr. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat, as he came under criticism from both Democrats in Albany and from national Republicans, including former President Donald J. Trump.
The state initially publicized only the number of residents who died of Covid-19 inside nursing homes, even after it became aware that thousands more residents had died after being transferred to hospitals.
Additionally, Gov. Cuomo is under scrutiny for a provision in the state budget that shielded nursing homes and hospitals from lawsuits over COVID deaths.
The governor's vaccine czar, Larry Schwartz, may also have tied county leaders' loyalty to the governor with vaccine distributors. Schwartz, according to The New York Times, "made a series of calls to county leaders in which, according to two Democratic county executives, he inquired about their loyalty to the governor. In at least one case, Mr. Schwartz pivoted from politics to a discussion of vaccine distribution."
There was, even more, to do with accusations of sexual misconduct. Breaking news from The New York Times on Friday detailed the accounts of "a series of unsettling interactions" from the eighth accuser to come forward, Alyssa McGrath, who is the first current aide to publicly do so. According to the report, "Ms. McGrath did not accuse the governor of making sexual contact, though she said that she believed that his actions amounted to sexual harassment."
Breaking News: Gov. Andrew Cuomo is now accused of harassment by a current aide, who said he ogled her body, remarked on her looks and made suggestive comments. https://t.co/hqDJZIoX9L— The New York Times (@nytimes) March 19, 2021
On Tuesday, reports of a letter circulated, which Gov. Cuomo himself had helped draft, to discredit the first accuser, Lindsey Boylan as what The New York Times described as "a full-on attack on Ms. Boylan’s credibility, suggesting that her accusation was premeditated and politically motivated."
Reporters tweeted that they were muted after asking about the report during a press conference with Gov. Cuomo.
Got muted immediately after asking why @NYGovCuomo leaked Boylan's personnel records and reportedly circulated a letter saying she was backed by Trump supporters, @JonCampbellGAN did you get muted? Governors office had said they would start allowing us follow up questions...— Gwynne Hogan (@GwynneFitz) March 17, 2021
It was going to be something along the lines of: Do you believe there is any instance where it is appropriate for a boss to ask their subordinate questions of that sort? https://t.co/Tm9OMDA4A9— Jon Campbell (@JonCampbellGAN) March 17, 2021
As Cortney reported on Friday, a 2018 phone call from Gov. Cuomo resurfaced, in which he took issue with the endorsement the Working Families Party gave him. "'If you ever say, 'Well he’s better than a Republican' again, then I’m going to say, 'You’re better than a child rapist,'" he said on the call.
In a 2018 phone call w/ the leader of NY's Working Families Party, @NYGovCuomo takes umbrage at how they’re wording their endorsement of him:— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) March 19, 2021
“If you ever say, ‘Well he’s better than a Republican’ again, then I’m going to say, ‘You’re better than a child rapist’” [via the NYT] pic.twitter.com/ZTo5YpdjSl
A whole article's worth of complaints the WFP had against the governor was referenced in a Monday opinion piece by Michelle Goldberg for The New York Times.