New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo once compared his ability to intimidate people to that of mob kingpin Sonny Corleone from “The Godfather,” according to a detailed report detailing notable moments from the embattled Democrat’s lengthy political career.
Cuomo made the reference shortly after he was elected as New York’s attorney general in 2006, the New York Times Magazine reported. A former associate said Cuomo remarked that he frightened people who sat for interviews during his office’s investigations.
“I loom over that table,” Cuomo said, according to the associate. “In their minds, I’m Sonny Corleone and I’m capable of anything.”
The interaction surfaced as Cuomo faces calls to resign over his conduct in office. The governor is under investigation over claims that his office withheld critical data on the number of COVID-19 deaths at nursing homes.
Additionally, several women, including current and former aides, have accused Cuomo of sexual harassment or misconduct and of presiding over a toxic workplace culture. In both cases, Cuomo has denied wrongdoing.
A spokesperson for Cuomo denied the “Sonny Corleone” remark occurred, telling the newspaper that the governor “never uses ‘Godfather’ references.”
“This is an anti-Italian, bigoted, false, defamatory statement,” the spokesperson added.
Former President Donald Trump has frequently referred to the governor’s brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, as “Fredo,” in a derogatory reference to another character from “The Godfather.” When asked about Trump’s “Fredo” quip during a November appearance on “The Howard Stern Show,” the governor said he “would’ve decked” Trump if not for his political responsibilities.
Cuomo’s alleged past reference to “The Godfather” was one of several interactions detailed in the New York Times Magazine’s report, which was based on interviews with more than 80 people.
President Biden reportedly praised the governor during a conversation with one of Cuomo’s aides at a 2015 event in Rochester, New York. At the time, Biden was vice president in the Obama administration.
“Can I tell you my favorite thing about the governor?” Biden said, according to the aide. “He’s got tremendous balls. Absolutely enormous balls.”
A White House official pushed back on the report, saying the quote “does not sound like something President Biden would say.”
Biden is one of several prominent Democrats who have spoken out against Cuomo in recent weeks, telling reporters that the governor should resign and face prosecution if the allegations of misconduct were proven true in an investigation.
Stephanie Miner, who worked as an aide for former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, said members of his administration referred to Andrew Cuomo as the “Prince of Darkness.”
Interviewees also detailed other alleged instances from throughout Cuomo’s political career. During his run for attorney general in 2006, Cuomo allegedly implied that an aide was going easy on a female reporter who had written about his campaign.
“You banging her?” Cuomo allegedly asked the aide. The governor’s spokesperson denied the incident occurred.
Cuomo was also alleged to have bragged about his sexual prowess in a meeting during his first time in office, when aides met to discuss his administration’s response to the “Occupy Wall Street” movement.
The governor reportedly told aides that if he had “one gift,” other than his skill at performing oral sex, it was “being able to see around the corners of politics.”
A Cuomo spokesperson denied the governor made the remark, calling the claim a “disgusting and defamatory lie.”
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