Home Viral LOG The rise and fall of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

The rise and fall of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

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  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York announced plans to resign Tuesday.

  • The office of the New York Attorney General found he sexually harassed 11 women, including members of his staff.
  • He was once a rising star in the Democratic Party, seen as an empathetic and cool-headed leader at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • But his popularity plunged after news broke of his alleged COVID cover-ups and sexual harassment.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Andrew Cuomo was just 24 years old when he managed his father's winning campaign for governor of New York in 1982. He served as an adviser to Gov. Mario Cuomo on a $1 salary.

Andrew Cuomo
Andrew Cuomo speaks to lieutenant governor-elect Alfred del Bello in Cuomo's office in 1982.

He went on to become a partner in a Manhattan law firm that represented powerful builders, including Donald Trump, according to The Washington Post. In 1988, he gave up law to run a housing nonprofit called HELP – Housing Enterprise for the Less Privileged.

Andrew Cuomo
Andrew Cuomo speaks for HELP in Bellport, New York on May 23, 1989.

Two years later, he married Robert F. Kennedy's daughter Kerry Kennedy. The press nicknamed them 'Cuomolot.'

Andrew Cuomo marries Kerry Kennedy in 1990
Andrew Cuomo marries Kerry Kennedy in 1990.

The couple were known as a DC power couple while Cuomo worked as an assistant secretary in the Department of Housing and Urban Development's community planning and development office.

Andrew Cuomo and Kerry Kennedy in 1994.
Andrew Cuomo and Kerry Kennedy on June 26, 1994.

President Bill Clinton nominated Cuomo as secretary of HUD in 1996. He was unanimously approved by a Republican-controlled Senate.

Andrew Cuomo's confirmation hearing.
Andrew Cuomo's HUD secretary confirmation hearing in 1997.

As HUD secretary, Cuomo led programs that pumped billions into depressed cities, but his critics said it was all just to "enhance his own public image and political career," The Post reported at the time.

Former US Housing and Urban Development Secretary (HUD) Andrew Cuomo
Cuomo, then HUD secretary, visiting a transitional housing facility for homeless families in Washington, DC.

In 2002, Cuomo ran for governor of New York, following in his father's footsteps. But his campaign floundered after he said that Gov. George Pataki had "stood behind the leader" – referring to New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani – in the aftermath of 9/11, a time of national mourning.

Andrew Cuomo in the 2002 race
Cuomo in 2002.

"I talked to a reporter who was there, and he said there was a kind of a collective intake of breath. Like, 'Wow, did he just say that?' It was so nasty," said Michael Shnayerson, author of Cuomo's unauthorized biography.

Andrew Cuomo next to Bill Clinton
Cuomo stands next to former President Bill Clinton after announcing at a news conference that he is abandoning his campaign for the governor of New York on September 3, 2002 in New York City.

Cuomo dropped out of the race before the Democratic primary. Four years later, in 2006, he was elected New York's attorney general, and four years later he took a second shot at the governor's mansion.

He was elected governor with more than 60% of the votes, and then again for a second and third term.

Democratic candidate for state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo
Cuomo, then the Democratic candidate for state Attorney General, gives a thumbs-up as he leaves the voting booth in Manhattan.

But it was this third term that would both make and break Cuomo.

On March 1, 2020, New York had its first confirmed case of coronavirus. Every day, for over 100 days, Cuomo would reassure New Yorkers in daily briefings that it would be all right.

Cuomo acts to protect nursing home residents
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo held daily coronavirus briefings at the State Capitol in Albany.

By the end of March, there were more than 60,000 cases in New York, and hospitals were filling up. Cuomo issued a mandate asking nursing homes to take back residents who had been hospitalized, as well as new patients, even if they had COVID.

nursing homes new york
Two medical workers transport an elderly man from the Cobble Hill nursing home in Brooklyn to a nearby hospital amid the coronavirus crisis on April 24, 2020.

But what seemed to be getting more attention was the governor himself. His approval rating rose to 77% in April of 2020 – his highest in almost 10 years, according to a poll conducted by Siena College.

andrew and chris cuomo cnn
Anchor Chris Cuomo interviewing Gov. Andrew Cuomo, his brother, on CNN in May 2020.

He appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone in May, won an Emmy for his press briefings, published a memoir of his handling of the pandemic in October, and reportedly was even being considered as President-elect Biden's attorney general.

Joe Biden and Andrew Cuomo
Joe Biden appears with Cuomo to unveil plans for new area infrastructure projects on July 27, 2015, in New York City.

But a disaster was unfolding in New York nursing homes. More than 4,500 recovering COVID patients were admitted by the time Cuomo rescinded his order on May 10, 2020, the Associated Press reported. Families of the victims were furious.

new york ambulance
An ambulance stops on a Brooklyn street on April 6, 2020.

"He had the time to write a book. He had time to go on national TV on a daily basis," said Maria Porteus, whose father, Carlos Gallegos, died of suspected COVID at a nursing home 15 days after the mandate was put in place. "What he left behind is a nightmare for families."

Sign at Voices for Senior vigil
Maria Porteus holds a sign with pictures of her father at a vigil organized by Voices for Seniors in New York.

Cuomo insisted his administration was following CDC guidelines. But contrary to federal guidelines, New York's order did not require nursing homes to adopt strict COVID health procedures or make a separate wing for patients coming from hospitals.

A man holds signs at Voices for Senior vigil
A vigil at Foley Square was organized by the grassroots group Voices for Seniors to mark one year since Cuomo's March 25 directive.

By the end of May, more than 5,800 people had died either with confirmed or suspected coronavirus in New York nursing homes or adult care facilities, according to the Associated Press.

A patient is wheeled into the trauma center at the Elmhurst Hospital Center where testing and treatment for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is taking place in Queens, New York City, U.S., March 27, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
COVID-19 testing at the Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens, New York.

In July 2020, the New York Health Department said in a report that admitting COVID patients was not a significant factor in nursing home deaths. The report stated that transmission from nursing-home staff members was the primary driver, not Cuomo's March 25 directive.

Andrew Cuomo
Cuomo addresses the media during his daily press briefing on COVID-19 at the State Capitol in Albany.

But months later, in January 2021, New York Attorney General Letitia James found that Cuomo's order may indeed have contributed to outbreaks in nursing homes.

She also said New York's Department of Health undercounted nursing home deaths by as much as 50%.

letitia james
New York State Attorney General Letitia James takes a question at a news conference in New York in August 2020.

The Wall Street Journal reported in March that Cuomo's top aides pressured health officials to change the report and list about 6,400 deaths. But the initial version of the report said there were nearly 10,000 deaths.

cuomo derosa calls
Cuomo and his top aide, Melissa DeRosa.

In April 2021, Cuomo's favorability rating dipped down to 40%, according to a Siena College Poll.

cuomo calls for resignation
Cuomo's approval rating dipped to 40% in April 2021.

But there was another scandal emerging. One of Cuomo's former aides – Lindsey Boylan – tweeted in December 2020 that he had sexually harassed her for years.

GettyImages NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 17: Lindsey Boylan attends The 9th Annual Elly Awards Hosted By The Women's Forum Of New York on June 17, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Women's Forum of New York)
Lindsey Boylan in 2019.

More women came forward with accusations in the following months. The governor did not respond to Insider's request for comment. In the past, he denied all of the accusations against him.

cuomo governor mansion albany
The New York State Executive Mansion in Albany.

While the FBI investigated if Cuomo's office gave false data to the Justice Department.

andrew cuomo book investigation
Cuomo at an April 2021 press briefing.

With an impeachment investigation underway, members of Cuomo's own party called for his resignation. But Cuomo continued to have eyes on a fourth term.

cuomo resign billboard
A billboard urging Cuomo to resign is seen on March 2, 2021 in Albany.

In August 2021, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced the findings of an inquiry into Cuomo by independent investigators for her office. They found he sexually harassed 11 women, including members of his staff.

cuomo james 4x3
Cuomo and New York Attorney General Letitia James.

A week after, Cuomo announced plans to resign.

Andrew Cuomo is pictured in silhouette against a New York City skyline view from behind his podium at an event.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

"My resignation will be effective in 14 days," Cuomo said in a livestream. He told New Yorkers: "I work for you, and doing the right thing is doing the right thing for you."

A screen shows news coverage of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo resigning over allegations of sexual harassment, in Times Square on August 10, 2021 in New York
A screen shows news coverage of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo resigning over allegations of sexual harassment, in Times Square on August 10, 2021 in New York

Cuomo did not acknowledge guilt in his remarks but apologized for offending any women.

Andrew Cuomo
Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York.

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