On his last day in office, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo continued to push back against the state attorney general’s sexual harassment investigation that led to him stepping down, while taking a victory lap for his successes and few shots at the far left on his way out.
Cuomo, who is facing criminal investigations in multiple counties for allegations that were explored in the attorney general’s probe, has denied wrongdoing, and continued to do so Monday in his farewell address.
„You know me, I am a fighter. And my instinct is to fight this because it is unfair and unjust, Cuomo said, claiming that „prolonging this situation would only cause governmental paralysis.“
Cuomo continued to claim that attorney general’s probe was politically motivated, stating that it was „designed to be a political firecracker on an explosive topic. And it worked.“
He said that „allegations must still be scrutinized and verified“ whether they are brought by a man or a woman, and that „the truth is ultimately always revealed.“
In addition to sexual harassment allegations, an impeachment investigation targeting Cuomo was also looking into his administration’s handling of nursing home coronavirus deaths. His office has been accused of deliberately undercounting and covering up the number of nursing home casualties as he himself had ordered facilities to take residents who had tested positive after being released from hospitals.
Despite this, Cuomo celebrated how New York has handled COVID-19.
„We went from the highest infection rate in the nation to the lowest. We did what no one thought could be done,“ he said. „Why? Because when the rest of the nation put their head in the sand and denied science, and played politics, we faced up to the facts and we made the tough but necessary decisions.“
Cuomo also took some parting shots at the far-left wing of his party, noting that he opposes defunding police and suggesting that reforming police and building trust with communities is the correct approach.
„Gun violence and crime are savaging inner cities. Look at New York City, the majority of victims are poor, Black, and brown,“ Cuomo said in a veiled dig at rival Mayor Bill de Blasio.
He also blasted those in the Democratic party who are against big business.
„Demonizing business is against our collective self-interest,“ Cuomo said, noting that the tax revenue they generate allow the state to provide for its people.
„We can address income inequality without ending incomes,“ he added.
Cuomo thanked his team and his family. He also wished success for incoming Acting Gov. Kathy Hochul and Democratic New York City mayoral candidate Eric Adams, whom he matter-of-factly said „is going to be the next mayor of New York City“ months before he faces Republican Curtis Sliwa in the general election.
In closing, Cuomo recognized that „we didn’t get everything done that we wanted to,“ and admitted that „we didn’t always get it quite right.“
„Thank you for the honor of serving you,“ he said, appearing to fight back tears. „And never forget, always stay New York tough, smart united, disciplined and loving. It’s the essence of what makes New Yorkers so special.“