In the summer of 1985, having recently moved from Rio de Janeiro to New York City, I went to the local Detran to get my first driver’s license in the state. As I stepped out of the subway station in Manhattan’s financial district, I saw a group of a few dozen listening intently to a man in a suit.
For a few moments, I forgot the bureaucracy that awaited me and followed the speech of the man, hypnotized, who, if he was protected by bodyguards, did not seem visible. His name was Mario Cuomo, and he was in the first of three terms as governor of New York State. What a speaker.
The Shakespearean cliché is often used for political family dramas. In the case of the Cuomo family, Andrew Cuomo’s theatrical speech this Tuesday (10) makes it clear that, three decades after his father was dubbed the “Hamlet of the Hudson River” by the tormented indecision that left him made give up his candidacy for the presidency as favorite, the dramas are not lacking.
Andrew Cuomo’s dishonored resignation fell like a bomb on the Albany-New York axis of power, and not because he had a chance to survive a state assembly impeachment process.
The governor’s behavior since the release of State Attorney Letitia James’ report last week, which compiled the charges of 11 women for sexual harassment, has been one of mistrust and denial. Until Monday night (9), Rita Glavin, Cuomo’s lawyer, used to attend TV shows in a combative manner, casting doubt on the accusers’ stories.
It’s common for sexual stalkers – and, after the report, there’s no doubt Andrew Cuomo goes down in history with that epithet – to hire women to defend him. The strangest recent case is that of the monster Harvey Weinstein, who died in prison despite being defended by Susan Estrich, a prominent Democratic feminist who wrote a seminal book on rape and was herself raped by a unknown.
What, for example, causes someone like respected feminist lawyer Roberta Kaplan to risk her reputation for advising, in the crisis generated by the accusations, a politician as powerful as he is known for episodes of brutal retaliation against? opponents? After the report was published, Kaplan was forced to resign from the leadership of the Time’s Up group that she helped found to provide legal assistance to victims of sexual harassment and violence.
Andrew Cuomo, like his father, flirted with the presidential candidacy, but in light of the rally of pre-candidates that was announced in 2015, he chose to project his performance nationwide in the state and create a political heritage.
As the country reeling from the spread of the pandemic, in April 2020, the governor became the counterpoint father figure to the agent of chaos Donald Trump. Its daily press conferences have become a mandatory program for New Yorkers trapped at home, as New York City has become the world’s leading epicenter of death and infection.
If the press showed images of body bags stacked on refrigerated trucks, Cuomo presented progress charts, pointed directions, and lectured on Trump’s nihilistic mismanagement. In an episode that defied irony and could feature in a politician parody like “Veep,” Cuomo’s interviews won an Emmy Award on television.
Peacock that he is, the governor wrote (with the obvious help of advisers paid with our tax) a premature and presumptuous memoir on the management of the pandemic in which he falsified the tragic error created by a decision he Taken at the start of the quarantine: forcing homes for the elderly receiving Covid patients, resulting in a large number of preventable deaths.
But, unlike the charismatic Mario Cuomo who was not a saint but masked his boxing with charm, Andrew Cuomo’s career was marked, from the start, by aggressive and unusual behavior.
At 19, he was singled out – and still denied – as responsible for distributing campaign posters when his father ran for New York City mayor in 1977 with the phrase “Vote for Cuomo, not l. ‘homo’ in homosexual), in reference to the victorious Edward Koch, who ruled the city for 12 years.
On his way to a possible fourth term in 2023, Andrew Cuomo could boast a list of accomplishments in the state more expressive than his father’s. A veteran state Democrat defined the current governor as a Mario lacking in poetry. Through the mourning shown in the unpopular resignation declaration, Andrew Cuomo suggests that he inhabits a genre of prose: tragedy.