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ANALYSIS: Cuomo’s Resignation Shows Just How Skewed Our Moral Compass Is

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Bradley Devlin General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo finally resigned following a year of terrible press. But it was a string of sexual harassment allegations, not the death of thousands under his watch, that brought him down.

Cuomo’s resignation, taking effect Aug. 24, followed New York Attorney General Letitia James’ announcement that a report found Cuomo had sexually harassed at least 11 women and “violated federal and state law.” Cuomo denies the allegations and he said he was resigning because the scandals were distracting from the state’s ability to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. With this, Cuomo effectively admitted the sexual harassment allegations — and not the death of 15,000 New York nursing home residents due to his policies — was what forced his hand.

The New York Attorney General’s office launched an investigation into sexual assault and harassment claims made by former staffers, such as Cuomo’s first and second accusers, Lindsay Boylan and Charlotte Bennett, and other women who said the governor had touched or said inappropriate things to them.

“Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed current and former New York state employees by engaging in unwelcome and non-consensual touching and making numerous offensive comments of a suggestive and sexual nature that created a hostile work environment for women,” James continued.

But though the report “revealed conduct that corrodes the very fabric and character of our state government and shines light on injustice that can be present at the highest levels of government” and found Cuomo was in violation of federal and state laws, James said no criminal charges would be brought against Cuomo.

In his resignation announcement, Cuomo addressed the investigation’s conclusions and the sexual harassment allegations, but continued to deny wrongdoing.

“I’ve never crossed the line with anyone. But, I didn’t realize the extent to which the line has been redrawn. There are generational and cultural shifts that I just didn’t fully appreciate,” Cuomo said in his remarks.

“I want to thank the women that came forward with sincere complaints. It’s not easy to come forward. But you taught me, and you taught others, an important lesson. Personal boundaries must be expanded and must be protected. I accept full responsibility,” Cuomo went on to say. “This situation and moment is not about the facts. It’s not about the truth. it’s not about thoughtful analysis. It’s not about how do we make the system better. This is about politics.”

But what Cuomo didn’t mention was the other massive scandal that has come to light in the recent months: his administration’s mismanagement and coverup of COVID-19’s fatal impact on nursing homes in the state. Cuomo signed an executive order on March 25, 2020 that forced COVID-19 recovering patients back into nursing homes, an order Cuomo would eventually rescind on May 10.

The Daily Caller News Foundation reported May 15, 2020 that Cuomo’s administration had undercounted nursing home deaths by an unknown amount, because the state was not counting nursing home residents who died in the hospital of COVID-19 as nursing home COVID-19 deaths.

Subsequent reporting uncovered that while the March 25 executive order was active, more than 9,000 COVID-19 positive recovering individuals were placed back in long-term care facilities, according to the Associated Press.

Then, a Feb. 11 report from the New York Post revealed that the Cuomo administration’s coverup of nursing home deaths went beyond undercounting nursing home deaths. Melissa DeRosa, then Cuomo’s secretary and top aide, reportedly told Democratic leaders in the state of New York that the administration had withheld nursing home data out of fear of federal retribution. (RELATED: Chris Cuomo Has Been Covering His Brother’s Tracks This Whole Time)

Now, almost 18 months after the order was signed, more than 15,000 nursing home residents in the state of New York have died from COVID-19.

Prior to his resignation, New York lawmakers were investigating not only Cuomo’s personal conduct, but his administration’s handling of COVID-19 in nursing homes. Some claim this effort was massively underfunded from the start.

The revelation that more than 15,000 people had died in New York nursing homes stemming from a policy directly enacted by the governor failed to pique the media’s interest or get national Democrats like President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to call for his resignation. It was a string of sex scandals.

While these sexual harassment victims have indeed suffered under Cuomo’s abuse of power, they’re still alive. Thousands of New York nursing home residents are not.