Dem congresswoman joins in on Cuomo dogpile

The calls for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign have continued over recent days, but last night a considerably bigger voice joined the chorus. New York Congresswoman Kathleen Rice (D – NY 4) stepped up for her spot on the “Cuomo Must Go” line, saying, “the time has come.” As happens so often these days, she made the announcement on Twitter.

The New York Post was quick to pick up on the news. Having Rice weigh in like this wasn’t just another case of a disgruntled New Yorker throwing in the towel on Cuomo’s governorship for reasons we’ll get to in a moment.

Rep. Kathleen Rice has become the first Democratic member of Congress to call on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign after a third woman came forward with accusations of inappropriate behavior.

“The time has come. The Governor must resign,” Rice, who represents parts of Long Island, wrote on Twitter in response to a new accusation that he made unwanted advances toward a woman at a 2019 wedding.

Other state Democratic lawmakers — including state Sens. Gustavo Rivera, Alessandra Biaggi and Assemblywoman Jessica González-Rojas — also joined in on their calls for Cuomo to resign after Anna Ruch, 33, told the New York Times that the governor made the advances toward her and kissed her on the cheek at a New York City wedding reception.

As I already mentioned, Rice’s response is significant for a couple of reasons and it may turn out to be a game-changer. Up until now, Democratic attacks on Cuomo have been primarily coming at the state level. It was notable when the Mayor of New York City threw Cuomo under the bus, but they’ve never exactly been friends. Democrats from the state legislature doing the same thing certainly added some pressure, but they aren’t nationally known names for the most part.

Kathleen Rice is different. She’s the first member of Congress to call on Cuomo to pack his things get out of Albany. She’s also a woman and she’s from Long Island, deep in Cuomo’s base stronghold. She’s a long-time fixture in New York politics and has been previously mentioned as a possible candidate for either Big Apple Mayor or Governor herself at some point. All of these factors combined give her considerable weight and gravitas in evaluating the viability of the rest of Cuomo’s current term.

As recently as yesterday, I was doing a radio hit for one of our affiliates in Connecticut and was asked if I thought Cuomo’s days were numbered. Just as I have in the past, I responded by saying there was no way Andrew Cuomo would leave willingly and he couldn’t be impeached successfully. The worst he would likely get was a censure. Waking up this morning, my confidence in that analysis is beginning to waver. At this point, even the cable news networks that are the most consistent cheerleaders for Democrats and once fawned over Cuomo’s daily COVID briefings are now covering these sexual harassment allegations on a loop.

The chorus may be growing so loud at this point that the Governor won’t see any way out of this mess and just fold his hand. But I still wouldn’t bet the deed to my house on it. We’ve been dealing with the Cuomo family for a long time here in the Empire state and overcoming the massive hubris and sense of entitlement that the Cuomo clan embodies would take a lot. There’s still a very reasonable chance that Cuomo believes he can just keep his head down and wait for the next big thing to draw the eyes of the news cycle away from him. If he can get these stories to move to the back page, he may believe he can just ride this thing out.

There’s another bad sign for Cuomo in the news this week, however. New York’s Attorney General, Letitia James, announced that she is launching a sexual harassment probe into Cuomo. Anyone who’s been following James’ career is probably aware that she is one of the most partisan liberals to ever hold that office. She ran a campaign based on nothing but a promise to hound Donald Trump out of office and she never gave up on that pursuit. You rarely hear her ever saying a bad thing about a Democrat, even the ones on their way to jail. If Letitia James has seen the writing on the wall to the point where she couldn’t duck out of investigating Cuomo, things have gotten pretty bad inside the Governor’s Mansion.

I’ll just add one more development here on a related note. CNN headliner and gubernatorial sibling Chris Cuomo won’t be covering his brother anymore. It didn’t come off as a case of Fredo throwing his big brother under the bus, but rather more of a “conflict of interest.” At least that’s what he’s saying. It’s hard to say whether the powers that be at CNN told him to stand down or if he made the decision himself. But it does raise the question of why Chris was ever allowed to cover or interview his brother in the first place. Meghan McCain responded to the news in the appropriate fashion.