Governor Andrew Cuomo has found himself in hot water after a variety of scandals have surfaced in the past few weeks. Sexual harassment accusations, issues regarding his COVID-19 response and reporting and being stripped of his emergency powers by the New York State legislature are the most recent actions. These scandals caused a growing bipartisan call for impeachment.
The Governor’s first blow in this wave of scandal came with accusations of forging numbers of nursing home deaths at the start of the pandemic. The report, released in July of last year, had reported 6,000 deaths in nursing homes up until that point, a number on par with similar reports throughout the country. According to Vanity Fair, Gov. Cuomo soon started using these numbers, and New York’s rising success in handling the pandemic, as a way to bolster the state’s and his own reputation. Recently, new reports have surfaced alleging that these numbers were greatly downplayed and the true statistic was closer to 9,000. This would put New York in an unfavorable position and counter the success story being fabricated by senior officials and Cuomo himself.
Around the same time, multiple women have stepped forward alleging inappropriate conduct by the Governor. The accusations range from creating a toxic work environment to sexual harassment. However, the Governor denies all of the allegations, only issuing an apology if he made anyone feel uncomfortable but denied anything inappropriate occurred. In the same breath, he asserted his refusal to step down from office, complicating the situation for his own party. State legislature members of both parties urged a resignation, but Governor Cuomo still holds firm in his refusal.
Most recently, the state legislature, controlled by Democrats, approved a bill that would strip the Governor of his extensive emergency powers granted to him at the beginning of the pandemic. The new bill would not allow Governor Cuomo to create any new directives without approval from lawmakers, and it extends existing directives for 30 days. While this comes at the same time as two major scandals, and multiple lawmakers did mention it during debate, the common theme was that this was the first step to a return to normalcy.
Despite the various scandals surrounding the governor, he had explicitly stated that he will not step down from office. Because of this, impeachment has been brought up more frequently as a means to hold Governor Cuomo accountable for these scandals.