New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a rare phone-based press conference Friday to give an update on the state’s response to the pandemic, signaling winds of change following revelations of COVID mismanagement and sexual harassment allegations.
Cuomo — who defiantly refused to resign Friday — caught the nation’s attention last year with his harsh criticism of the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, using somber televised and widely-watched press conferences to make his point.
Cuomo took strong action to combat his state’s massive coronavirus caseloads, and by mid-March he had instated capacity limits, shut down Broadway, and warned against inundating hospitals.
By early spring the Empire State had confirmed more cases even than any other country outside of the U.S., and Cuomo’s daily press conferences landed him on the cover of Rolling Stone.
The article, titled “Crisis in America: Andrew Cuomo Takes Charge,” described the governor’s direct press briefings as a “surreal split-screen response” in comparison to Trump’s at times rambling COVID updates.
But Cuomo has seen a steep fall from grace in 2021.
After riding a nearly yearlong high on his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the governor has been in the hot seat since the January revelation that some of his top aides concealed the number of COVID-related nursing home deaths last June.
The governor later said he withheld the exact number of deaths out of fear that the Trump administration would use the state’s death count as a reason to launch a politically motivated campaign, reported The New York Times.
Cuomo now faces growing calls for his resignation from state and U.S. legislators, the majority of whom are Democrats, over yet another scandal to plague the governor’s office – multiple allegations of sexual harassment.
But Cuomo brushed off the demands to step down and told reporters Friday that “this is not the first time that we’ve had to walk and chew gum.”
“We had to fight COVID for a year and we had to keep the state running,” he said, adding that during his time as governor he’s faced disasters, flooding, state emergencies and he “had to fight Donald Trump for years, every day.”
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