During an episode of The View, host Sunny Hostin claimed that former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) — who resigned after an investigation from his state’s Attorney General concluded that he had sexually assaulted or harassed 11 women — could still have a political future because of his effective handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In response to Hostin’s claims, guest host Alyssa Farah Griffin, who worked for former President Donald Trump’s administration, noted that thousands of elderly citizens died in New York state after Cuomo banned nursing homes from refusing to admit COVID-19 positive individuals.
Host Joy Behar began the segment by noting how Cuomo has recently been behaving as if he is considering another run for office in the future. Behar then said that Cuomo has not yet been prosecuted or found guilty of any crimes, despite the many sexual misconduct allegations against him.
“Can he come back from this scandal — because he kind of lost a lot of his mojo in the public eye — even if he wasn’t actually convicted?” Behar said to her co-hosts.
“I think if you ask the majority of New Yorkers they feel he did a good job as governor, especially at handling the pandemic, especially when the Trump Administration was not handling it well on a federal level,” Hostin said, even though New York state had nearly double the national average of COVID-19 deaths per capita at the time Trump left office.
Hostin then said she agreed with Cuomo’s claim that the investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against him by New York Attorney General Letitia James was politically motivated because James wanted to run for governor.
“I just think it does appear to be a little politically motivated. She was running for governor, but that was very short-lived. There’s something to be said about that. If Trump can have dozens of accusers and become the President of the United States, I think all bets are off at this point,” Hostin said.
Griffin responded to Hostin by saying she believes the allegations against Cuomo were credible and his handling of the pandemic was “abominable.”
“Ten thousand senior citizens died in nursing homes in New York while he was writing a book that he profited off of,” Griffin said. “And by the way, looking at ethics? He was taking — he was using government resources to help research and write that book.”
In March 2020, then-New York Governor Andrew Cuomo notoriously issued a directive barring nursing homes from refusing to admit COVID-19 positive individuals. Within two months, the number of nursing home deaths soared to over 9,000.
In order to hide the number of nursing home deaths resulting from his policy, Cuomo ordered his aides to go as far as to rewrite a report from New York state health officials.
“The number — more than 9,000 by that point in June — was not public, and the governor’s most senior aides wanted to keep it that way,” The New York Times reported. “They rewrote the report to take it out, according to interviews and documents reviewed by The New York Times.”
As he worked to cover up his state’s skyrocketing nursing home death toll, Cuomo also allegedly forced his staff to work on his book about his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic – many of whom also fell victim to his sexual harassment, according to the state’s investigation into the allegations.
The investigation found that “the Governor sexually harassed a number of current and former New York State employees by, among other things, engaging in unwelcome and nonconsensual touching, as well as making numerous offensive comments of a suggestive and sexual nature that created a hostile work environment for women.”
The investigation additionally “revealed that the Governor’s sexually harassing behavior was not limited to members of his own staff, but extended to other State employees, including a State Trooper on his protective detail and members of the public.” It concluded that Cuomo created a culture “filled with fear and intimidation, while at the same time normalizing the Governor’s frequent flirtations and gender-based comments” which “contributed to the conditions that allowed the sexual harassment to occur and persist.”
Cuomo initially responded to the investigation’s findings by playing a video of him touching and kissing various people.
“I do it with everyone,” he said. “Black and White, young and old, straight and LGBTQ, powerful people, friends, strangers, people who I meet on the street.”
In the aftermath of the controversies, Cuomo’s defense lawyer was reportedly paid $2.5 million in New York state funds.
“Taxpayers are being forced to shell out more than $900 an hour for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s lead defense lawyer, to help him try and fend off charges that he used staffers to help write a book detailing his handling of the pandemic and claims that he and aides hid from the public the true death toll among patients of nursing homes,” the New York Post reported.
“The $2.5 million deal, revealed in a contract made public through a Freedom of Information Request by The Post, was struck even though Cuomo sold the rights to his coronavirus memoir for $5.1 million and has around $17 million in his campaign war chest,” the New York Post continued.
The book, titled American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic, describes how Cuomo “was relentless in his pursuit of scientific facts and data.”
Griffin continued her rebuttal of Hostin’s comments on The View by saying, “If there’s one thing we learned about the Cuomos, it’s — these are egomaniacs.”
“Both of them are egomaniacs?” Behar asked.
“That’s my — that’s what I know of both of them. I think he will pursue office again. I think he absolutely just thinks he’s the best, he’s wanted, there’s a lane there. I hope there’s not,” Griffin said.