Since various federal and state investigations into Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s private and official behavior have commenced, the public has seen very little of him.
In late June, for example, when Sen. Chuck Schumer, accompanied by U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, announced $11 billion in federal aid for the Gateway Tunnel project under the Hudson River, the governor was not present at the Moynihan train station press conference.
Perhaps Cuomo wasn’t invited.
Some political wags I spoke with called the Schumer-Buttigieg dog-and-pony-show, which included a tour of I-81 in Syracuse to announce plans to transform the aging highway, “Schumer’s Revenge.”
It is well known in political circles that Schumer and Cuomo despise each other; and, after all, Schumer has called on the governor to resign.
However, I doubt if the governor would have gone to any such event, let alone a Schumer one, that included the press and spectators.
His daily schedule tells the whole story: there haven’t been any “public” events in months.
Granted, Cuomo spoke to the public via television, when he announced the end of the state disaster emergency he declared on March 7 to fight COVID-19.
But that was a one-man show. He sat alone at the table in the Capital’s Red Room, where he made grand pronouncements back in his glory days of 2020.
As for mingling with the people and the media, that is a thing of the past.
Gubernatorial events, outside the confines of the Capital, are generally not open to the public and are tightly controlled. Spectators, if any, are government employees.
When the governor appeared with LIRR President Phil Eng, about a mile from my home, to cut a ribbon at the grand opening ceremony of at the newly completed car underpass at the New Hyde Park Station, outside of Cuomo’s minions, no one else attended the event. (The released photograph with Cuomo and Eng standing 20 feet apart cutting ribbon looked ridiculous.)
Later in the day, local pols held another ribbon-cutting. That one was open to the press and public.
The only contact Cuomo has had with real people—albeit rich ones—was at his million-dollar fundraiser on June 30 that cost $10,000 a ticket.
In my judgment, the thin-skinned Cuomo is afraid to appear in full view because he has been exposed as the emperor with no clothes.
Remember when the media believed Cuomo was controlling the virus better than any governor in the country? Remember when they hung on his every utterance and praised him lavishly? Remember when women identified as #Cuomosexual? Remember when Cuomo had untrammeled power and the state Legislature bowed to his every whim?
Well, those days are over.
Why you ask?
As the left-wing journalist, Ross Barkan, succinctly put it, “His heroism was built on lies.”
In “The Prince: Andrew Cuomo, Coronavirus, and the Fall of New York,” Barkan summed up the Cuomo phenomenon thusly:
“In the dark logic of the pandemic year, Cuomo won fabulous praise for being everything he wasn’t: calm, decisive, and trafficking in the worlds of fact and reason…. The dreadful scale of death … was not inevitable.
“Governor Cuomo was too slow to shut down the state. He compared coronavirus to the flu and downplayed the threat. He failed to adequately coordinate hospitals to handle the surge of patients…. The Cuomo myth grew in proportion to the bodies piling up in hospital morgues. It lingered beyond any point of rationality.”
Barkan’s right and the death toll proves it.
New York, with a population of 19 million, has lost 53,000 people to COVID-19. That’s the second-highest number of deaths among the 50 states.
California, with 39.5 million people, has lost 63,000 to the pandemic. Texas (29 million pop.) has lost 38,000; and Florida (21.4 million pop.) has lost 38,000.
Those numbers explain why we haven’t seen much of Cuomo.
But while Cuomo can hide from the public, he cannot hide from himself. For the rest of his life, he must live with the knowledge that he made decisions that sprung from timidity and dastardliness.