NEW YORK — There’s a major question looming in the wake of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s scandals: Can he still be effective in conducting the state’s business amid a fight to salvage his image and stay in office?
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio had his own answer Thursday.
“A guy who spends 11 hours having to testify about his sexual harassment and assaults is not a guy who’s focusing on fighting COVID or getting us federal aid or getting rent relief money to people who need it,” said de Blasio. ” The rent relief issue is a very telling example.”
Cuomo has gotten high marks for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, aside from controversy and a federal investigation over underreporting nursing home deaths. That, coupled with the misconduct allegations, caused Democratic lawmakers to strip him of his emergency powers.
Political consultant Hank Sheinkopft says there are many issues in the state crying for the full attention of New York’s chief executive.
“We have financial problems, we have a Medicaid gap problem that’s not insignificant, we have crime and we’re trying to recover from COVID,” Sheinkopf said. “Whoever gets the job has to rise to the occasion or be defeated significantly by the voters come next year.”
On Thursday, a spokesperson for Cuomo reported that school districts across New York state will not be receiving guidance ahead of the upcoming school year. The spokesperson blamed the COVID-19 state of emergency being rescinded. The lack of guidance has left many school districts frustrated with just a month to go before classes begin.
Political consultant Morgan Pehme says the Cuomo crisis is also likely shaping up to be a political football in Washington.
Sen. Joni Ernst, a Republican from Iowa, took aim at Cuomo and important funding for New York.
“She tried to insert an amendment in the bill trying to prevent any governor under investigation for sexual harassment from receiving any funds,” said Pehme. “The walls are closing in on Gov. Cuomo.”