Joel Wertheimer took a job in Andrew Cuomo’s administration in February 2017, straight from his position in Barack Obama’s White House. He came on alongside almost 30 other new hires, many of whom had also worked for the outgoing president or on Hillary Clinton’s campaign and were seeking a progressive professional path through the Trump years. Some saw New York State government as a bulwark against what they feared Trumpism would bring. Others hoped it could be a laboratory for ideas that might become a model for federal policy. . .
. . . One year after he began his star turn as “America’s Governor,” steering his state through COVID via daily, reassuringly matter-of-fact press briefings, Andrew Cuomo’s third term as governor of New York is suddenly deeply imperiled. In January, State Attorney General Letitia James released a report showing that his administration had underreported COVID deaths in nursing homes by as much as 50 percent. In February, liberal State Assembly member Ron Kim, who had criticized the governor in the wake of that report, spoke publicly about how Cuomo called him at home and threatened his career. Then the floodgates opened: His adversary Mayor Bill de Blasio called the bullying “classic Andrew Cuomo”; state legislators Alessandra Biaggi and Yuh-Line Niou began openly suggesting that the governor’s hard-knuckled approach to politics is simply abusive. And since last month, when Cuomo’s former aide and candidate for Manhattan borough president, Lindsey Boylan, published an article on Medium accusing him of sexually harassing and kissing her against her will, five more women have come forward with tales of harassment, objectification, and inappropriate touching. As of publication, dozens of Democratic members of the State Assembly and Senate, and 11 Democratic members of Congress, have called for his resignation.