Indeed they do, and with Andrew Cuomo’s unmistakable voice clear in the New York Times’ latest podcast. The paper first reported on these remarks a month ago, part of a large and long-belated exposé of the Love Gov’s bullying and intimidation. One such episode came during negotiations with the progressive Working Families Party after the primary, in which WFP had the temerity to endorse Cynthia Nixon against Cuomo. The WFP had told its membership that Cuomo was better than the Republicans as a way to explain their endorsement, an explanation to which Cuomo took great offense … even though it was part of an endorsement:
The theme suffuses many of Mr. Cuomo’s interactions — accounts in which the governor berated aides and elected officials, brought people to tears and threatened to fire them or end their careers. People outside the governor’s direct control who have clashed with him said he told them they would be subject to negative news stories or political challenges or, in one case, would be publicly likened to a “child rapist.” …
In the fall of 2018, for example, when Mr. Cuomo was told by a leader of the Working Families Party — which had backed his primary opponent, Cynthia Nixon — that it would endorse him in the general election because he was better than a Republican, Mr. Cuomo’s response was blunt.
“If you ever say, ‘Well he’s better than a Republican’ again, then I’m going to say, ‘You’re better than a child rapist,’” the governor said, according to two people who were on the call. “How about that?”
At the time, Cuomo explicitly denied the report. Unfortunately for Cuomo and his rapidly shrinking credibility, that conversation got recorded — and the NYT has it in their podcast.
— Michael Barbaro (@mikiebarb) March 19, 2021
The conversation starts at 17:20 in the podcast, but pick it up at around the sixteen-minute mark for the full context. WFP leader Bill Lipton clearly wants to find a way to maintain their own agenda while supporting Cuomo, and seems to wonder why Cuomo’s so unhappy about the comment. Lipton tells Cuomo that they’re fine with the same formulation about them in reverse. Cuomo refuses to allow any criticism, threatening twice to compare the WFP publicly to child rapists. As Michael Barbaro’s guest Shane Goldmacher notes later, Cuomo then repaid the WFP for their support by trying to change ballot-access rules to significantly reduce their power.
That certainly makes it easier to believe the other allegations of intimidation, and less easy to believe Cuomo’s denials. Cuomo already has a credibility problem in New York, and this will only serve to make it a little worse. The latest polling from Quinnipiac shows voters still narrowly opposed to a Cuomo resignation, but his approval and favorability ratings are cratering:
As elected officials turn up the pressure on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign over multiple allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriately touching women, nearly half of voters (49 percent) in New York say that he should not resign while 43 percent say he should resign, according to a Quinnipiac (KWIN-uhpea-ack) University poll of registered voters in New York State. The poll was conducted from March 16th – 17th . In a March 4th survey, voters said 55 – 40 percent he should not resign. …
Voters give Governor Cuomo a negative 39 – 48 percent job approval rating, down from a split 45 – 46 percent approval rating on March 4th. Today’s numbers mark the lowest job approval for Cuomo since he took office in 2011.
Voters give Governor Cuomo a negative 33 – 51 percent favorability rating, his lowest favorability number since Quinnipiac University began tracking his favorability in 2008 while Cuomo served as New York Attorney General.
Nearly 6 in 10 voters (58 percent) say that Andrew Cuomo is not honest and trustworthy, 28 percent say he is honest and trustworthy, and 13 percent did not offer an opinion. That is his worst score since Quinnipiac University began tracking voters’ views on his honesty and trustworthiness in 2007.
Right now, it looks like the only thing Cuomo has in his favor are the investigations into his conduct. Voters in New York are waiting to see what those conclude before being willing to push him out of office, an understandable and rational position. But that may not hold up forever, especially if more recordings of King Cuomo’s conversations start leaking out. Wanna bet this isn’t the first or last time someone made a recording just in case they needed to protect themselves from the Love Gov?