Andrew Cuomo’s behavior shows how power goes to people’s heads

More and more women are coming forward accusing New York governor of Andrew Cuomo sexual misconduct. Here is the just the latest example.

Sherry Vill remembers feeling embarrassed and stuck as the New York governor Andrew Cuomo “manhandled” her and came on to her in her own home, in front of her husband and son.

“He towered over me,” she said during a press conference on Monday. “There was nothing I could do.”

Vill, 55, met Cuomo in May 2017, when he visited her suburban house near Rochester, New York, while surveying flooding damage in the area. Hers is the latest in a series of allegations detailing a pattern of sexual misconduct by the now infamous chief of state.

Vill recalled Cuomo holding her hand, forcibly grabbing her face, aggressively kissing her cheeks and calling her beautiful. The unwanted advances made her uncomfortable, especially around her family and neighbors.

Multiple current and former aides have now outlined inappropriate interactions with the governor, even as he publicly admonished the “pervasive poison of workplace sexual harassment” and ardently defended workplace protections amid the #MeToo movement.

Lindsey Boylan, a former economic development official, published an essay in February about how she felt Cuomo “would go out of his way to touch me on my lower back, arms and legs”. She recalled a number of his vulgar comments – including a suggestion that they play strip poker – and described her shock when, during a visit to his office, he kissed her on the lips.

We can dispense with the notion that Cuomo was unaware that what he was doing was wrong. The time when that excuse was even remotely plausible has long since passed. The point is that he did not care that it was wrong. Why? Because of his sense of power, that he felt he could get away with this kind of behavior because people were afraid to challenge him. We saw that attitude repeatedly on display with Donald Trump, Harvey Weinstein, and a whole slew of famous people who were powerful in their domain.

There have long been many reasons to dislike Cuomo who represented the worst elements of neoliberal politics within the Democratic party that finds more common ground with Republicans than with the progressives within their own party.

Cuomo has been able to fend off challenges to his autocratic rule by bullying and threatening anyone who had the temerity to challenge him on anything. He probably felt that he could intimidate all these women into silence too. He is discovering that once one person opens up about the abuse they suffered, it emboldens all the others to come forward.

It is time for him to go.


  1. says

    I am not a huge fan of our governor but one cannot ignore the asymmetry of this situation when compared to the charges leveled against Trump and Kavanaugh. The Republicans immediately went on the offensive and protected their own. We do not see that with the Democrats. Tearing down Cuomo has been an ongoing project of state and national Republicans since the day he was elected. As much as Democrats and progressives would like to flip Texas, Republicans want to flip NY. Damato and Pataki were a sufficient embarrassment, thank you very much. If Cuomo does exit, it would be nice if we could get someone who is more progressive.

  2. Allison says

    It’s not just the sexual harassment, although that is reason enough.

    He’s been running the whole state government as his private empire, ruling by decree, overruling decisions by experts, and settling grudges. Until recently, he was able to count on Republican and blue-dog Democrats to stymie any attempt by the legislature to overrule him, but now that most of the machine politicians have been evicted and the Democrats have a veto-proof majority in both houses, he’s having somewhat more difficulty.

    One of the things we’re hearing is that he’s made a lot of enemies, and that may come back to bite him.

    A lot of people here are so impressed with how he handled the beginning of the epidemic, but IMHO, that’s only because he was better than Trump (a very low bar!) Most of what he decreed was obvious to anyone with any familiarity with science, but in many cases, he overruled the science when it was politically unpopular.

    I think just about everyone here is very unimpressed with the vaccine roll-out. He (since Cuomo is very much “L’état, c’est moi”, the failures are his) had 6 to 9 months to set up a procedure for matching people with vaccination appointments in order of priority, yet what we have is a big, confusing mess that you can only navigate with a lot of persistence and knowledge of the undocumented tricks. And there is no sign that it will ever improve.

  3. Matt G says

    What is it with great New York politicians who have lousy children? Mario’s son and Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s daughter are embarrassments.

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