Scandals have a way of metastasizing, especially when caused by self-inflicted wounds. It’s never just one or two accusations, and once they emerge, more are sure to follow. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo understands that. He has been around Washington and Albany and all the politics in between long enough to know he’s a goner, as painful as that is to admit.
Cuomo’s Achilles heel is a parade of credible accusers going on television, plus his own reputation as an arrogant bully in the workplace. Add to that his administration’s deceptive reporting of nursing home deaths in the pandemic, and you have a toxic brew.
Long vanished is the luster of the guy who only a year ago was widely admired for his handling of the COVID-19 crisis, as his informed and cogent briefings held the rapt attention of a nation that hungered for information they were not getting from Washington.
Cuomo’s star was polished by Donald Trump, who lied about what was going on, rejected science and feared that telling the truth would damage his prospects for reelection (turned out to be quite the opposite). Every time Trump gave a briefing he quickly lost interest, even during the briefings as he wandered off on tangent. He made Cuomo look good. There was even talk that the governor should run for president.
One might think it unfair for Cuomo to be hounded out of office when Trump, who was charged by more than 20 women with sexual harassment, paying off porn stars for sex and even rape, could brazen it out.
The loud calls from Democratic leaders for Cuomo’s resignation contrast with the virtual silence of Republican leaders in response to Trump’s long record of sexual harassment and abuse. It suggests the two parties have disturbingly different standards of conduct toward women.
Not all politicians’ scandals are related to sex. Some pols are just crooks. After a visit by party leaders telling him he couldn’t survive, Richard Nixon ordered the helicopter brought around for his final farewell.
There were those, such as the congressman convicted for insider trading while at a White House party, or another who used campaign funds for plane tickets for his pet bunny. Both of those men went to prison for their crimes but soon got out early, thanks to presidential pardons from Trump.
AMONG THE most common self-inflicted wounds are those suffered by men who subscribed to Henry Kissinger’s aphorism that “power is an aphrodisiac.” It’s a two-way street traveled by sexual predators of both genders and driven by ego and ambition.
Some – Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, George H.W. Bush, Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh – survived the slings and arrows of their own bad judgment and of their accusers. Will history care?
Most philanderers, abusers and assorted bad apples, however – Gary Hart, Newt Gingrich, Bob Livingston, Dennis Hastert, Henry Hyde, Wayne Hayes, Dan Burton, Bob Packwood, Judge Roy Moore, Rudy Giuliani, Anthony Weiner, Larry Craig and Katie Hill, to name merely a few – just trotted off to history’s trash heap.
You probably don’t remember most of those has-been headline makers, but there’s always Wikipedia to refresh your memory, if you’re even interested.
Cuomo will join them soon. He knows it.
The next sex scandal in Washington may involve Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), whose aggressive defense of Trump is a reminder of his years as a college wrestling champion and coach.
NBC News and other outlets reported that Jordan ignored repeated complaints of sexual abuse while he was an assistant wrestling coach at the Ohio State University. By one account, 11 wrestlers accused him of turning a blind eye to accusations of sexual assault and even rape by the team physician while the future congressman was their coach and, for some, their confidant. One of the former wrestlers said Jordan called him “crying,” “groveling” and “begging” that he remain silent about the scandal.
Jordan has pleaded total ignorance. Just like when he once told Anderson Cooper at CNN that he could not think of a single lie Trump had ever uttered.
Even after the insurrection was quelled, Jordan continued trying to block certification of Joe Biden’s election to the presidency.
As the senior Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, Jordan led Trump’s defense against impeachment charges in the wake of the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol. Five days after the deadly coup attempt and shortly before the president’s second impeachment trial, Trump – in an unusual private ceremony – awarded him the Medal of Freedom.
Jordan continues to insist Trump was innocent of all responsibility for the insurrection. And he has the Medal of Loyalty to prove it.
Andrew Cuomo probably wishes he had such a staunch defender right about now. And he may be wondering if there’s a partisan double-standard for sexual abuse. Doesn’t matter. He’s still a goner.