Andrew Cuomo left Joe Biden’s aides fuming when he recorded a video for this summer’s Democratic National Convention that was ‘a tribute to himself’, according to a new book – and then refused to re-record the clip when the then-presidential candidate complained.
Allegations of Cuomo’s self-serving behavior came as a new poll on Tuesday showed the three-term New York governor’s popularity plummeting, as he battles accusations of sexual harassment and a scandal over a possible coverup of COVID deaths in nursing homes.
The 63-year-old’s approval ratings have slid to 38 per cent, down from 71 per cent in April, at the height of the pandemic, The New York Post reported.
The paper also published excerpts of a new book which was fiercely critical of the powerful Democrat.
‘Every four years, Democrats asked themselves the same question about the New York governor and former Housing and Urban Development secretary: ‘How is Andrew Cuomo going to f*** us this time?’ write Jonathan Allen of NBC News and Amie Parnes of The Hill in Lucky: How Joe Biden Barely Won the Presidency, which is out on Tuesday.
Andrew Cuomo in August spoke to the DNC in what authors of a new book describe as ‘a tribute to himself’
Cuomo was the golden boy of Democrat politics last spring but has seen his popularity plummet in just weeks
Aides to Joe Biden, pictured on Tuesday, were said to be furious about Cuomo’s speech in August
They write that, at the 2016 convention, Cuomo had jarred on ‘for double his allotted time,’ while his team refused to participate in fact-checking sessions beforehand.
In 2020, when Cuomo ‘was supposed to use his credibility to explain why Biden had the best plan for dealing with the pandemic,’ he instead ‘recorded something of a tribute to himself’.
The authors write, according to the Post, that Cuomo’s team only sent over the video the day of the convention.
In it, Cuomo says: ‘We climbed the impossible mountain, and right now, we are on the other side.’
Biden’s name was not mentioned by Cuomo until four minutes and 50 seconds into the video — which was five minutes long, the book notes.
The new book savaging Cuomo was out on Tuesday
‘The convention’s speechwriting squad watched in disbelief,’ the authors write. ‘They asked Cuomo’s aides to refilm it. The answer came back: No.’
A source involved in the convention’s production said of Cuomo’s team: ‘They put the speech on our doorstep, lit it on fire, rang the doorbell, and then ran away.’
Allen and Parnes write: ‘Cuomo was much more of a headache for Democrats than any of the four Republicans who spoke on the first night — former Ohio governor John Kasich, former New Jersey governor Christine Todd Whitman, former New York representative Susan Molinari and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman.’
The story of the convention drama comes as a NewsNation/WPIX 11/Emerson College poll shows growing voter unhappiness with Cuomo.
Nearly two-thirds of voters — 64 per cent — said Cuomo should not be reelected for a fourth term in 2022 and it’s time to elect someone new.
Even Democrats are split on a Cuomo fourth term.
Nearly half of voters — 45 per cent — believe Cuomo should resign over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in nursing homes, compared to 36 per cent of respondents think he should remain in office.
On Tuesday evening protesters calling for Cuomo’s resignation gathered outside his offices in midtown Manhattan, as leaders of New York state’s legislature reached a deal to strip him of his emergency powers two months before they expire.
Chanting that Cuomo should quit, the crowd waved placards demanding he step down.
A growing number of Democratic leaders have called on Cuomo to resign following the sexual harassment allegations, including Congresswoman Kathleen Rice, a New York representative who on Monday became the first Democrat in DC to call for him to stand down.
Protesters in Manhattan made their feelings clear about Cuomo on Tuesday after a third woman accused him of harassment
The three-term governor is facing calls for him to resign, with Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton demanding an inquiry
The protesters stood in the chilly March evening demanding that the governor resign, with one labeling him a ‘sex pest’
Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York, who has often feuded with the governor, said that if the allegations are true, Cuomo cannot govern.
Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, and New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand have all called for a full investigation.
On Tuesday Gillibrand, who spearheaded the effort to oust former senator Al Franken from the Senate over sexual misconduct claims, called sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo ‘completely unacceptable.’
Gillibrand stopped short of calling on Cuomo to resign but said ‘every allegation of sexual harassment must be taken seriously and be reviewed.’
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who also represents New York, called the allegations against Cuomo ‘very troubling.’
A billboard in Albany, the New York state capital, was put up on Tuesday demanding the governor quit
The governor on Tuesday suffered a further blow when a deal was reached to rescind powers he was granted on March 3, 2020 – three days after the first coronavirus case was confirmed in his state.
What were Andrew Cuomo’s emergency powers?
On March 3, 2020, New York state’s assembly granted Cuomo sweeping powers to handle the pandemic.
They were designed to enable a swift response to the public health crisis. Critics said it gave Cuomo too much power.
The new powers meant Cuomo could, without consulting the New York state assembly, make spending adjustments and withhold money amid the financial uncertainty of the pandemic.
He could, through executive order, temporarily suspend ANY law, regulation rule or local law that would impede the compliance of, or prevent the necessary action to conduct, pandemic response.
He has used this on a range of issues, including closures of businesses, and altering how elections are conducted in order to limit the spread of the virus.
The orders must be renewed and updated every 30 days.
The legislature could always overturn whatever order they don’t like – but the Democrat-controlled body did not undo any of Cuomo’s decisions.
Cuomo was able to swiftly issue new laws through executive order – something which, in the early days of the pandemic, was seen as essential to respond quickly to the public health crisis.
But calls had been mounting for the powers to be removed, and those calls were given additional force by both sets of revelations.
With Cuomo’s leadership now being called into question, the state legislature agreed to remove his powers.
‘A year into the pandemic, and as New Yorkers receive the vaccine, the temporary emergency powers have served their purpose – it is time for them to be repealed,’ said Carl Heastie, Assembly Speaker, in a statement.
Under the deal, reached between Heastie and Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the majority leader, current directives related to preserving the public health will continue.
The governor would still be able to modify existing orders – such as the percentage of indoor capacity allowed at reopening restaurants.
‘I think everyone understands where we were back in March and where we are now. We certainly see the need for a quick response but also want to move toward a system of increased oversight, and review,’ she said.
‘The public deserves to have checks and balances. Our proposal would create a system with increased input while at the same time ensuring New Yorkers continue to be protected.’
Their agreement will now be put to a vote in the legislature, which could be held as soon as Friday.
The Democrat has suffered a spectacular fall from grace since he became a national star last year for his handling of the state’s coronavirus pandemic.
Many commentators had tipped him for a role in President Joe Biden’s administration but now members of his own party are calling for his resignation.
Already facing heat over accusations he deliberately underreported COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes, Cuomo referred himself for investigation on Monday over sexual misconduct allegations by two former aides.
Hours later, Anna Ruch, 33, told the New York Times that she met Cuomo at a wedding in September 2019.
During the reception, he put his hand on her bare lower back – which she pushed away – and asked if he could kiss her.
‘I was so confused and shocked and embarrassed,’ Ruch, who did not work for Cuomo, told the Times. ‘I turned my head away and didn’t have words in that moment.’
The newspaper published a photo showing the governor holding a visibly uncomfortable Ruch by the cheeks.
Anna Ruch, now 33, met Andrew Cuomo at her friends’ wedding in September 2019. He was photographed cupping her face
Ruch worked in the Obama White House before switching to join the Biden 2020 campaign team
Democrats and Republicans have joined Cuomo’s accusers and anti-harassment campaigners in calling for the three-term governor to quit.
The scandal engulfing Cuomo illustrates how allegations of sexual harassment gain traction in the #MeToo era.
Sam Abrams, a political science professor at Sarah Lawrence College, told AFP the third accuser ‘makes it much harder’ for Cuomo to stay around.
‘He is a fighter and will clear his name if it’s believed to be a misunderstanding,’ Abrams said.
‘But if he loses the support of the party, and that is happening, he has no future or fourth term.’
Cuomo enjoyed national adoration last spring with his straight-talking yet empathetic virus briefings that contrasted sharply with then-president Donald Trump’s dismissive approach to the pandemic.
He won an Emmy for the broadcasts, and wrote a book about leadership.
Some Democrats even urged him to run for the White House, but now his stock has never been lower.
Ruch’s testimony came just days after former aide Charlotte Bennett told the New York Times that he sexually harassed her last year.
Letitia James, pictured,the state attorney general, will oversee an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment
Charlotte Bennett (left), 25, accused Cuomo of sexually harassing her during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in his Albany office, including quizzing her about dating older men. Lindsey Boylan (right) accused him of attempting to kiss her on the mouth in 2018
Bennett, 25, said that Cuomo told her in June that he was open to dating women in their 20s, and asked her if she thought age made a difference in romantic relationships, the Times said.
While Cuomo never tried to touch her, ‘I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me, and felt horribly uncomfortable and scared,’ she said.
Another ex-aide, Lindsey Boylan, described unwanted physical contact from Cuomo when she worked for his administration, from 2015 to 2018.
Boylan, 36, alleged that the governor had given her an unsolicited kiss on the lips, suggested that they play strip poker and went ‘out of his way to touch me on my lower back, arms and legs.’
Cuomo said Sunday he was ‘truly sorry’ if his conduct had ever been ‘misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation.’ He denied ever inappropriately touching or propositioning anyone.
Cuomo, loathed by many on the left-wing of the Democratic Party, was slammed for the wording of his apology.
He bowed to pressure for an independent probe into the misconduct claims, which will be led by New York Attorney General Letitia James.
The findings will be disclosed in a public report that may not be released for months.
Cuomo has led New York for ten years and is widely believed to covet a fourth term when his current one ends in 2022, to surpass his father Mario Cuomo, who served for three terms.
With detractors unlikely to be able to muster enough votes to impeach Cuomo in the state legislature, experts say his future may hang on the outcome of the investigation.
‘If it’s really bad for him, then he either resigns or gets impeached,’ said Columbia University politics expert Lincoln Mitchell.