After Cuomo Crashes and Burns, Democrats Must Ask Uncomfortable Questions | Opinion

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is stepping down under the threat of an inevitable impeachment. It should spawn deeply uncomfortable questions that Democrats in New York and around the country must answer.

A Democrat-led investigation was too much for Cuomo to survive politically. But it wasn't an investigation into the 15,000 senior citizens who died in nursing homes thanks to the governor's COVID-era policies. It wasn't even an investigation into his administration's purported cover-up of the nursing home scandal.

Cuomo is leaving office thanks to an alleged culture of sexual harassment in his office. That culture, an investigation alleged, included awkward kisses and hugs, unwanted groping and comments of an inappropriate sexual nature to staff and others with whom he interacted.

In a lengthy press conference on Tuesday morning, Cuomo's attorney denied the allegations in great detail. Then, Cuomo delivered a performance actually worthy of an Emmy.

He's resigning not because he's guilty, but because he loves New York too much to put her through a gubernatorial impeachment. But, above all, he's innocent. Still, he apologized to the offended women before not-very-subtly casting himself as the victim.

"This is not to say that there are not 11 women who I truly offended. There are, and for that, I deeply, deeply apologize," he said. "I thought a hug and putting my arm around a staff person while taking a picture was friendly, but she found it to be too forward. I kissed a woman on the cheek at a wedding, and I thought I was being nice, but she felt that it was too aggressive. I have slipped and called people 'honey,' 'sweetheart' and 'darling.' I meant it to be endearing, but women found it dated and offensive."

This is the equivalent of saying, "I thought saving orphaned children from a house fire was the right thing to do, but someone thought I acted too heroically." Such selfless framing!

Some of the allegations against Cuomo are objectively harassment, if not worse—groping and kissing, for example. But in fairness, other conduct is subjectively demeaning and inappropriate to some, but not remotely criminal, such as cringe-inducing comments and old-fashioned nicknames.

The truth is, there are some elements to this story that do show Cuomo, at least in part, to be a victim—not because he was falsely accused of being a creep, but because this was essentially a political hit job where he wasn't afforded any equal application of the law.

Cuomo's staff knew of this behavior for years; obviously, so did the victims. Why did it take so long for this information to come out? Because Democrats saved it for when it was politically convenient.

Democrats have effectively created a system where the accused must suffer consequences, even before they've been found guilty. It doesn't matter that some of the accusations against Cuomo made little sense. It certainly didn't matter that some of the accusations against Cuomo weren't actual crimes.

People participate in a protest against N.Y.
People participate in a protest against N.Y. Governor Andrew Cuomo and protest for a moratorium on evictions on August 4, 2021 in New York City. Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Cuomo was accused, and it was his time to go. That's the Democrats' system. Democrats often do their bidding in the name of the MeToo movement, which the party didn't just embrace but exploited to go after its political opponents. But MeToo is a movement that only seems to apply when there is a political benefit to be gained.

It didn't make sense to destroy Cuomo earlier. The governor served as a foil to then-President Donald Trump. Media and celebrity fawning reached embarrassing levels, as some came out as "Cuomosexuals" (if only they knew!) depicting the governor as the second coming. His name was even discussed as a possible Joe Biden replacement for the Democratic presidential ticket. At the time, Cuomo had value because the American people were clueless about his deadly nursing home policies from earlier in 2020.

But with Trump now out of office, why protect him? Others want to step into the governor's mansion in Albany. The biggest hopeful? The same attorney general who oversaw the Cuomo investigation: Letitia James.

First, James undercut the governor with a report showing his administration underreported COVID-19 deaths at nursing homes. Then, she delivered the death knell with her sexual harassment probe. And it all happened after Biden was safely ensconced in the White House.

Are Democrats comfortable with this timeline? That Cuomo was cynically protected by their party's establishment for political gain? Well, they must be: Democrats did the same for Joe Biden himself.

Then-candidate Biden was credibly accused of something much worse than sexual harassment by Tara Reade, who, believe her or not, was consistent with her allegations for years. There were also several claims from women that Biden invaded their personal spaces and made them uncomfortable.

Biden denied any sexual assault but addressed his tendency to violate boundaries of personal space. He defended his actions in an almost identical way as did Cuomo yesterday.

"I want to talk about gestures of support that I've made to women and some men that have made them uncomfortable," Biden said. "I've always tried to make a human connection. That's my responsibility, I think. ...It's the way I've always been. It's the way I try to show I care about them and listening."

Biden vowed to be "much more mindful" of the "boundaries of protecting personal space." Cuomo offered virtually the same vow, but it's fallen on deaf ears.

Biden got a pass. Accepting his behavior, at the time, served a greater political purpose. Cuomo's behavior did, too—until it didn't. It's not so much a question of fairness for Cuomo as it is a question for victims and the rule of law.

Are Democrats comfortable with that disparate treatment—not just of Cuomo but of the accusers who came forward too soon, before Democrats would be politically covered to address them?

The tragic irony for Cuomo (in his view, at least), is that he's being destroyed by the very reality he helped create.

Democrats viciously attempted to destroy then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh's life and career with no hard evidence of any criminal wrongdoing, or even impropriety. They used the movement to mobilize feminist activists and their sad male friends to rally against Kavanaugh's appointment to the Supreme Court. They had a political motivation, and they didn't care about the damage they could do if it meant they could stop Kavanaugh from getting on the high court.

And at the time, Cuomo piled on. He asked Kavanaugh to take a polygraph and chided the Trump administration for having a "disrespect for women" because "after the MeToo movement, they did absolutely nothing when it came to sexual harassment."


Jason Rantz is a frequent guest on Fox News and is the host of the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH Seattle, heard weekday afternoons. You can subscribe to his podcast here and follow him on Twitter: @jasonrantz.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.