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Calls for resignation not unwarranted

Plattsburg Press-Republican

It is no surprise that Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday he will not be stepping down from office amidst a swirl of scandal, but those calling for his resignation have a legitimate case.

It would seem incredibly difficult, if not impossible, for him to effectively govern going forward with these clouds over his head.

And, if true, the allegations of both sexual harassment and covering up information surrounding nursing home deaths due to COVID-19 are egregious enough to warrant a decision to resign.

The downward trajectory for the governor is shocking to some and not so much to others.

Cuomo made headlines last year during the beginning days of the coronavirus pandemic when he held daily briefings updating the state and nation on the situation with the virus in New York State with an emphasis on New York City, then the epicenter of the pandemic.

His bold leadership was lauded in many circles and he was seen as a confident commander who was doing his best to flatten the curve and bring the virus spread under control.

Cuomo seemed especially adept when compared with President Donald Trump, who seemed to bungle the pandemic response at just about every opportunity.

But the governor just can’t help himself it seems.

Being on national television every day, and winning an Emmy because of it, wasn’t enough. He made a COVID-19 poster to tout his prowess and then wrote a book about effective management during a crisis last fall.

This type of self-promotion raised some eyebrows, but others took it in stride as something Cuomo and his ego would naturally do.

The wheels of Cuomo’s bus to stardom started falling off recently when reports came out that his administration withheld accurate figures for those who died of COVID-19 in nursing homes.

He was already taking much heat for ordering positive COVID-19 patients back to nursing homes from hospitals, although he blames a federal mandate from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the move.

Then, most recently, three women have come forward with accusations of sexual harassment against the governor. The details are startling and disturbing.

The governor has often been accused of being a bully, which likely helps many to believe the women who have come forward.

Sexual harassment by rich powerful men who prey on young women who work for them is the worst kind of behavior any leader can exhibit, and it must be terrifying for any woman to have to go through that.

The governor has since explained his actions as “insensitive or too personal,” adding that some of his comments “given my position, made other feel in ways I never intended.”

He also acknowledged that some of the things he said “have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation.”

Wednesday, he said, “I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable,” adding, “It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it.”

Sorry, but if true, suggesting strip poker, asking a much younger woman about her sex life and if she would be open to a relationship with an older man, cupping a woman’s face and asking to kiss her after only just meeting her, and further crossing the line by kissing a woman without her consent constitute actions that cannot be misinterpreted.

If all this is true, it is harassment and wrong, plain and simple.

Attorney General Letitia James will be leading an investigation into the governor’s conduct, and we hope it turns out nothing but the unvarnished truth.

In the meantime, the governor should really think about his future and whether he can effectively ever lead this state again.

A Cuomo-less New York will survive.

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