A year ago, the coronavirus pandemic arrived in New York, and fear and confusion ensued. People had no real idea what this terrible disease was — how deadly it could be or how, precisely, it spread. We needed a calming voice to talk us through the crisis.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo was that voice. Day after day, week after week, he spoke directly to New Yorkers at daily televised news conferences, which quickly became popular not only here, but also across the country. He told us hard truths and offered credible solutions that brought calm — and results. By summer, New York’s Covid-19 infection rate, once the highest in the nation, had plummeted to 1 percent.
That is, in part, why it has been so disturbing and disheartening to hear a series of accusations against the governor — first, that his administration may not only have under-reported nursing home deaths, but also altered the reports, and second, that he may have sexually harassed four women.
If the growing number of accusations against Cuomo and his administration are proven true in the independent investigations now taking place, then he should resign, so as not to put the state through the long agony of an impeachment proceeding.
U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice, a Democrat from Garden City who represents the 4th Congressional District, has already called on Cuomo, a fellow Democrat, to step down. Rice made the announcement on Twitter March 1. Meanwhile, her House colleague Tom Suozzi, a Democrat from Glen Cove who represents the 3rd District, is taking more of a wait-and-see approach, allowing the investigations to play out.
According to a Quinnipiac poll last week, 55 percent of New Yorkers said they believe Cuomo should not resign, though the results were released the day before revelations that his aides may have changed death reports to reflect more favorably on the governor, so we may see that number drop. At the same time, 59 percent of New Yorkers said they do not want to see him run again.
Cuomo is a fighter who doesn’t back down, so we don’t expect him to resign, though the allegations against him are mounting daily, so he may have no choice. New York has been through hell over the past year, and we don’t expect the coming year to be much easier. We will recover, but it will take time. What we need now is a strong leader at the helm, not one so damaged by scandal as to become ineffectual.