By Izhaan Ahmed
For the past month, the government of New York has been under fire for recent groundbreaking revelations regarding the state’s current governor. Governor Andrew Cuomo and his administration have been exposed for two separate events, including a cover-up of knowledge regarding a decision that resulted in a death toll in the thousands and a slew of accusations of sexual harassment committed by the governor. Although these events have sparked significant public outcry from New York political leaders and a growing belief that he must be removed from office, the end of Cuomo’s governorship is far from certain.
On March 25 of last year, the governor signed an order requiring all NYS nursing homes in the state to accept medically stable residents regardless if they were suspected or confirmed to be infected with COVID-19. The exact number of infected patients placed back into the nursing homes is unknown, but is generally believed to be in the thousands. Following the incident, the Cuomo administration panicked, which resulted in the hidden truth of thousands of deaths, an action supported by newly-found evidence that members of the administration deliberately failed to report the higher death toll. As revealed by the New York Department of Health, the total nursing home death toll in New York would have been 50% higher had the information been broadcast at its inception.
Another scandal revolving around the crisis includes the sly pardon of many nursing home officials in a piece of New York legislation. This prevents the New York State courts from prosecuting these individuals regarding the pandemic. Information about the nursing home scandal was confirmed by New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, on January 28 of this year.
Reproduced with permission from Wikimedia Commons
Governor Andrew Cuomo has been a hot topic in national news over sexual assault allegations and his cover up of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes.
NHP students had their own opinions on the matter.
“I don't necessarily believe that Cuomo was right in the matter, but an aspect to take into consideration is that it’s hard to be accountable for something that’s uncontrollable. A virus isn’t like preventable crime, and even with proper procedures the virus can still break out, like in school, where we may take precautionary measures but people get infected anyway,” said sophomore Nikson Alex.
Simultaneously, several allegations against the governor have come out against him, accusing him of a wide spectrum of sexual behaviors. The unraveling of such behaviors started with former aide Lindsey Boylan when she stated that Cuomo had made promiscuous comments, put her in uncomfortable situations during her years-long tenure, and had forcibly kissed her.
This revelation sparked a flame that resulted in more women revealing their stories. Charlotte Bennett, Anna Ruch, Ana Liss, Karen Hinton, Jessica Bakeman, and Valerie Bauman, and more have announced their experiences since then. These new allegations strengthened the predatory image of Cuomo, accusing him of non-consensual kissing and inappropriate touching. Independent investigations are currently ongoing for these accusations.
“I feel that the allegations against Cuomo should be taken very seriously. When former President Trump was in office and allegations were presented, many were infuriated that the allegations seemed to be brushed off or not taken as seriously as they should’ve been. When Brett Kavanaugh, a man with a sexual assault allegation against him, was nominated and then elected to the Supreme Court, people were enraged. We should keep this same energy for Governor Cuomo. Just because he is a Democrat that was praised for how he handled COVID-19, that does not mean that he should be excused by other Democrats from this very serious issue. Sexual violence and assault should never be a political issue. In addition, I think this is a reminder that it is so important for Gen-Z to be aware of the world around us and the issues we will be faced with as adults. Soon enough, many of us will have the ability to vote and elect leaders that we feel best represent us and what we want for this country. Holding our representatives accountable for their wrongdoings and demanding change is how we protect our rights and our democracy, regardless of their political party,” said freshman Fiona O’Reilly.
On March 5 of this year, Cuomo was stripped of executive powers by the New York legislature. Several political leaders came out in support of Cuomo’s resignation: State assemblyman Ron Kim, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, poll-leading candidate in the NYC mayoral election Andrew Yang, both of New York’s U.S. senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and U.S. Representative from New York Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have all expressed the belief that Governor Cuomo should resign. Certain Republican members of the New York legislature’s lower house—including the assemblyman who partly represents New Hyde Park, Ed Ra—have commenced articles of impeachment.
Despite this belief by political leaders, New York voters are split 50/50 on the matter, with one half expressing the belief that Cuomo should resign and the other saying that he should not. This is a drastic change relative to his approval rating several months prior to the recent breakthroughs, but Governor Cuomo has announced that he does not plan to resign.
“I believe now more than ever actions and beliefs are being brought into public light. These actions are potentially some of many that will lead to the decline of Andrew Cuomo, as representatives from both previously Republican and Democratic parties have turned against this pivotal figure in the state of New York. Regardless of which side one takes, it will be extremely intriguing of the outcome and numerous implications that both senators and governmental officials have on our state. Additionally, how New Yorkers feel will also be immensely interesting, and seeing how this will play out in various sectors will be a show to watch,” said senior Joshua Eisenberg.
With the controversial status of his governorship, it is yet to be determined whether Cuomo’s tenure as a governor will be measured in an odd number of years or if the revelations will pass by without consequence to the administration.