Andrew Cuomo blames 'cancel culture' for his downfall

In 1984, the Democratic Party was at a crossroads and faced with the daunting challenge of defeating incumbent President Ronald Reagan. Although Reagan won by a blowout that year, there was a moment the party felt an electric energy that gave them pause. New York Gov. Mario Cuomo took the stage at the National Democratic Convention, and at least for one night, he unified the party with a sense of purpose.

"In this part of the city, there are more poor people than ever before, more families in trouble and more people who need help," Cuomo said in his famous "Tale of Two Cities" speech.

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His son Andrew Cuomo tried to strike a similar tone on Sunday in his first public speech since resigning last August amid numerous sexual harassment allegations and a federal investigation into his handling of COVID in nursing homes. The former governor stood in front of a predominantly Black church in Brooklyn and said the Democratic Party is once again in crisis.

"My father, God rest his soul, used to say that government is an honorable profession but that politics can be a dirty business," Cuomo said. "That is especially true today when politics is so mean and extreme. When even the Democratic Party chooses to cancel people in the face of disagreement."

But the crisis this time that the younger Cuomo referred to is cancel culture. He even blamed it as the reason he left office, not mentioning that he resigned on his own volition once it became clear he would be facing an impeachment trial.

"They used cancel culture to effectively overturn an election and that was their greatest arrogance — they didn't elect me, you did," Cuomo said. "Who are they to override your choice? What happened to voting rights and democratic elections, our cherished priorities?"

But cancel culture wasn't the only thing that Cuomo blamed. He also blamed the 11 women who accused him of sexual harassment for misinterpreting his behavior.

"My behavior has been the same for 40 years in public life but that was the problem," Cuomo said. "For some, especially younger people, there is a new sensitivity."

Cuomo also went on to blame his political opponents, saying they were waiting to take him down.

"The political sharks in Albany smelled blood and then they came and they exploited the situation for their own political purpose," Cuomo declared.

Cuomo also pointed to the fact that district attorneys from around the state all dropped their investigations into the accusations, although they all said they found the women credible, but their hands were tied under current laws.

"Even though multiple independent investigations found his victims to be credible, Cuomo continues to blame everyone but himself," Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement.

Yet one thing Cuomo did not mention is what is next.

Hofstra University's Larry Levy said one thing is for sure.

"If anybody had any doubt that Andrew Cuomo wanted back, whatever back is, he's erased it with the ads and with his statements today," said Levy, the vice president of economic development and professional studies and executive dean of the National Center for Suburban Studies.

There were rumblings that Cuomo had been looking for a way back into the public eye, which became more evident after he started to run TV ads across the state proclaiming his innocence.

"His fortunes were sky-high before they collapsed," Dr. Lee Miringoff, the director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, said. "I think what his thought process is, how can I reclaim some of that standing that I had during the days of COVID?"

But as Miringoff pointed out, Cuomo's options are slim in New York.

"He might be better advised to do something in terms of community service, run a program," Miringoff said. "He needs to turn the page on his political resume and doing it this way is kind of like old-school electoral politics."

Now Cuomo's speech did land well with another political outsider, Rev. Ruben Diaz Sr., who pushed back against same-sex marriage when he was in office. He tweeted that Cuomo should come to visit a church in the Bronx to speak with Hispanic voters.

The pastor of the church Cuomo visited, Rev. Alfred Cockfield, was appointed to the Long Island Power Authority Board by Cuomo's office just a few months before Cuomo resigned.