New York Governor Andrew Cuomo continued to play duck and cover Thursday, once again excluding reporters from an alleged press conference as his sexual harassment and nursing home scandals escalate.
Cuomo instead spent half an hour promoting supposedly good news about Covid infection rates in New York and the imminent return of baseball to New York City, with some fans admitted to stadiums, at an event that was closed to the press and was broadcast via zoom.
Despite the banning of reporters from the event on the pretext of Covid’s concerns, Cuomo was – again – surrounded by non-journalists saying nice things about him and specifically avoiding allegations that he kissed and fondled women without their permission.
Cuomo did not answer phoned questions from reporters who were certain to ask him about allegations that he sexually molested or acted inappropriately on more than half a dozen women, that he ran an office riddled with bullying and fear and that his administration hushed up data on Covid for months -Fatalities among residents of nursing homes.
The Democratic governor was beaten up by reporters on Twitter before his press conference ended to avoid asking questions about the allegations that have consumed the Empire State in recent weeks.
“Cuomo’s press is blatant propaganda with a group of old baseball players and others talking about what a great job he did with the pandemic … yet Cuomo is not letting reporters ask questions about these big changes to public health rules who he just announced … big change in 2020, “wrote Zach Williams, who covers the state capital of City & State NY.
Bloomberg opinion writer Robert George tweeted, “Cuomo is hiding behind sports teams (” Fans – a few, anyway – will be back in the stadiums! “) To talk to the press.”
And New York Post Political Reporter Bernadette Hogan tweeted, “@NYGovCuomo will be heard from daughter Michaela, President of the Yankees Randy Levine, Vice Chairman of the Mets Andy Cohen, and the players during a closed press event in Manhattan today CC Sabathia and Al Leiter accompanied. “
Business Insider political reporter Jake Lahut wrote, “This will be forgotten if Cuomo is asked to step down.” He was referring to a graphic that was shown during the event that contained the words “Reopen, Rebuild, Relaunch, Reunite” and other “Re”. -related alliteratives.
Gothamist and WNYC reporter Jake Offenhartz quoted a Gothamist story in a tweet the day before that it said: “Since February 24, when the first woman alleged sexual harassment, reporters have been banned from all public appearances by Cuomo. “
Cuomo faces multiple investigations into his behavior, even though he denies acting inappropriately towards a woman.
Attorney General Letitia James oversees an investigation into allegations made by a team of private lawyers.
The State Assembly’s Judiciary Committee said Wednesday it had hired a leading Manhattan law firm to conduct an impeachment investigation against Cuomo.
Albany police were accused by a current Cuomo aide of aggressively groping them at the governor’s mansion last year.
Brooklyn prosecutors are investigating Cuomo aides’ withholding of Covid death data.
Despite the investigation and despite calls from leading democratic lawmakers to step down, Cuomo has repeatedly refused to quit.
At his Thursday event, a grinning Cuomo tried to paint a picture of optimism as he detailed coronavirus infection rates.
“We’re coming through Covid, and we’ll be better for it, and smarter for it, and all the more united for it, and our success through Covid and what we’ve done as a community in this state will come.” together, our connections and our community are strengthened, “said Cuomo.
“Spring is here. It’s time to get up and it’s time for the Mets and Yankees to bring home a championship this year!” Said Cuomo.
Bill Hammond, Senior Fellow on Health Policy at the Empire Center, questioned Cuomo’s influence on Covid statistics.
“Cuomo says it’s safe to reopen and go to ball games because New York’s pandemic numbers are looking so good,” Hammond tweeted.
“It doesn’t look like that to me. The infection rate in New York is the second highest in the country after only New Jersey – and it’s been unchanged for a month.”
A day earlier, Cuomo had cut the question-and-answer deadline on a conference call after less than half a dozen reporters asked questions, almost all of which had to do with the scandals.
Cuomo had announced during the call that he would not ask questions about the allegations against him. He repeated an argument that the investigation into his behavior was still ongoing and that he did not want to defend himself in the media.
However, the governor responded when asked following President Joe Biden’s recent remarks that Cuomo should resign if the investigation confirms prosecutors’ allegations.
Biden had added, “I think he will likely be prosecuted as well.”
Cuomo said Biden merely expressed support for an investigation and not a rush for a verdict. “I agree with him,” said Cuomo.
On Wednesday, Cuomo traveled to Harlem, where he received a shot of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose Covid vaccine and was surrounded by political and community leaders who praised and defended him.
“Back off until you have some facts,” said former MP Charlie Rangel, DN.Y.
Rangel, who represented a Harlem district for decades, was found guilty of nearly a dozen ethics allegations by the house’s ethics committee in 2010 of an investigation into his personal finances.
On Monday, Cuomo hosted an event in Long Island where he received another round of exuberant praise from attendees while reporters were banned from attending.
CBS 6 reporter Greg Floyd tweeted a photo from Monday’s event, noting, “@NYGovCuomo’s office tells me that all of these supporters who practically stood shoulder to shoulder behind Cuomo on Monday were quickly tested ahead of the event . “
“No media allowed. I asked why reporters couldn’t get tested and approved quickly – I received no response,” Floyd wrote.