Here in my home state of New York, land of the second-highest per-capita COVID mortality rate in the nation, a major scandal is unfolding in slow-motion. Governor Cuomo, the object of swooning adulation this past spring for his supposedly “adult” handling of the COVID crisis (and a string of daily pressers that had a fawning press sighing “what might have been”), has been unmasked as an architect of disaster.

A colossally bad decision to send hospitalized senior COVID patients back to their nursing homes resulted in literally thousands of additional deaths. This reality was ignored, dismissed, deflected, glossed over, and, eventually, actively buried by his administration. In what might be a moment of unplanned candor, or a personal CYA, one of Cuomo’s top aides admitted that information and data had been withheld from the state’s legislative lawmakers.

The proffered reason? Fear that the data might be used by the Feds against Cuomo. In other words, partisan politics elevated above truth and accountability.

That this is all coming out now is likely directly attributable to New York’s Attorney General Letitia James’ release of a damning report on the matter. James, a Democrat and formerly-presumable Cuomo ally, may have seen an opportunity to knock King Cuomo off his lofty throne ahead of his planned re-election campaign in 2022. Or, she may have had a legitimate public servant moment, and decided to do the right thing despite near-certain blowback from the famously mercurial governor.

Blowback we just witnessed. Cuomo allegedly called Assemblyman Ron Kim, whose uncle numbers among those who died of COVID in a nursing home, and who is at the head of an effort to end Cuomo’s extraordinary powers granted for the pandemic, and reportedly savaged him with “You have not seen my wrath” and “You will be destroyed.”

Cuomo, of course, denies all this (and accused Kim of all sorts of things), so we are left with he-said-he-said. But, Cuomo’s past history supports the idea that it is the Assemblyman, not the Governor, telling the truth, and given that Cuomo is in increasing political jeopardy over all this, I’m inclined to believe Mr. Kim. Apparently, so does NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio, who opined that’s classic Andrew Cuomo.

The Feds are now looking into all this. More and more citizens are demanding answers. Cuomo’s camp has gone into damage control mode. And a couple New York politicians publicly voiced what many on social media are now saying: that Emmy award he won for his press briefings has lost its luster, and perhaps it should be taken back.

This isn’t just a run-of-the-mill political scandal over money or hookers or cronyism or dirty tricks. This is about a coverup of a disastrous public heath decision, a decision that led to the deaths of thousands. That it is Democrats agitating against a very powerful Democratic Governor is the reason it now has traction. If it were only the Right screaming about it, Cuomo could continue with his dismissals and his boasting (lest we forget, he wrote a self-congratulatory book that got onto the NYTimes bestseller list for a moment).

Governors have resigned for far lesser hypocrisies, but I’d be shocked if Cuomo stepped down over this business. He wants a fourth term as Governor, and I’m pretty certain he has had Presidential aspirations for quite some time as well. I think the latter is a fart in a windstorm at this point, but given New York’s politics and his power, the Governorship is something that he could retain as long as he wants to.

Unless the Democratic machine sees utility in throwing Cuomo to the lions.

James would be the immediate front-runner for the Governor’s mansion, and her ascension would please the identity warriors in the Party. Cuomo might think to enter the primary field ahead of the 2024 election, assuming Biden a – completes his term and b – opts not to run again, and defenestrating him would remove one potential Harris challenger. It’d give the Biden administration both the ability to trumpet the idea of accountability and deflect from its own COVID stumbles (the further in the rear view mirror the previous administration, the harder to blame it for everything).

It remains to be seen if Cuomo can spin, threaten, and muscle-flex his way out of this, if he can weather the storm with his political career intact, or if he’s pushed either into resignation or “I won’t run again” retirement. No matter – the golden veneer has been scrubbed off. The flights of fancy regarding his glorious management of the pandemic have been grounded. We can more easily point at his lousy management of the state overall, with a couple million having left the state since the beginning of his tenure, with an upstate economy that remains moribund despite his (scandal plagued) economic revival efforts, and with an expected $50 billion federal bailout needed to rescue the state.

I suspect Cuomo saw the pandemic, and in particular his ability to contrast himself favorably with the Untethered Orange Id during its early days, as a springboard to national prominence. Thus the daily dog-and-pony show, thus his Emmy acceptance speech:

I wish I could say that my daily COVID presentations are well-choreographed, scripted, rehearsed, or reflected any of the talents you advance. They didn’t. They offered only one thing: authentic truth and stability. But sometimes that’s enough.


“Truth and stability” was obviously a potshot at Him-Who-Shall-No-Longer-Be-Named, but for it to have lasting value, it needs to be more than a comparison to an easy target. It needs to be, well, true.

There’s an old aphorism about being able to tell when a politician is lying (for the hopelessly sheltered: “his lips are moving). In Cuomo’s case, we can add another: Pride goeth before the fall.

It’d be real nice if King Andrew I, The Petulant, got a just comeuppance. And, it’d be real nice if the Left’s obsession with obsessing over “heroes” got its own reality check.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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