On the Fourth of July in 2019, I joined some friends and some acquaintances for a picnic in Central Park. One of the former, who worked at a certain hub of globalist shenanigans, brought a colleague of hers from Italy. After exchanging pleasantries and establishing her country of origin, I mentioned that I didn’t much care for Italians, by which, of course, I meant Italian Americans. She asked why, and I explained the obvious reasons: Italians I had known were all walking stereotypes, loud and passionate, a bit obnoxious, with greased-back hair and flashy chains—entirely antithetical to the buttoned-down New England ethos in which I had been formed.
With only a little visible offense, she explained that she was not one of those Italians. She was from the north, where things were much more quiet and reserved. The people I was talking about must have come to the U.S. from the south; the worst of all, she said, were the Sicilians.
No surprise, then, that the governor of the godforsaken state we were then living in, the perfect embodiment of the type I had in mind, was a 50/50 split: paternal grandparents from Campania in the southern half of the mainland, maternal grandparents from Sicily off the coast. It showed—not just in the aggressively peninsular facial features or the characteristically slicked-back hair, but in the brash way of talking, the disregard for the conventions of polite society, the complete rejection of any political constraints on his passion or his actions.
It was for these reasons that many on the left embraced Cuomo as a sort of Antitrump, especially as a national crisis and a lackluster nominee found Democrats across the country desperately in need of a figure to unite behind. TV host Trevor Noah, an insufferable fixture of the DNC’s late-night propaganda hours, became a nearly full-time cheerleader for New York’s chief executive, coining the soon-viral term “Cuomosexual” for those who un-self-consciously proclaimed their obsession with the pol. (I understand the appeal, as I’ve come to appreciate the very New York bravado that Cuomo embodies much more in recent years.)
Perhaps Cuomo’s most devoted champion was Jennifer Rubin, a blogger for the Washington Post who realized last year (about a decade after everybody else) that she is not, in fact, a conservative. (Rubin has recently self-labelled as an “Andrew Cuomo Democrat.”) In its most ecstatic spasms, Rubin’s Cuomosexuality was downright messianic. Consider the following tweet sent in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic:
Watching Andrew Cuomo is inspiring, uplifting, fascinating. He weaves details and humor and math and common sense all together. He is magnificent. Let's just listen to him.
— Jennifer ‘pro-voting' Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) March 25, 2020
But even that outlandish hero worship is less bizarre than some of the Cuomo superfans’ other online interactions with their gubernatorial idol. This, from Rubin just a few weeks after the previous tweet, is not exactly normal human behavior:
” The boyfriend” looks nice and the girls seem to have eaten their spaghetti and meat balls!
— Jennifer ‘pro-voting' Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) April 19, 2020
That has to be some kind of coded message. Blink twice if you need help, Jen.
But Rubin, Noah, and the rest of the Cuomosexuals would soon learn that there are risks to embracing a politician whose chief appeal is in shirking the hygienic manners of the mainstream and the establishment, as we on the right know all too well.
Beginning in December 2020, a number of women came forward to say that Governor Cuomo had made unwelcome intimate comments or physical contact over the course of his administration. Before long, enough reports of this type had been made with enough credibility that New York Attorney General Letitia James opened an official investigation into the governor’s alleged misconduct.
Cuomo’s response to all the allegations has been consistent, if a bit equivocating. An excerpt from one statement captures the gist of it:
I do it with everyone: black and white, young and old, straight and LGBTQ, powerful people, friends, strangers, people who I meet on the street. . . . [One] woman said that I kissed her on the forehead at our Christmas party and that I said “Ciao, bella.” Now, I don’t remember doing it, but I’m sure that I did.
I do kiss people on the forehead. I do kiss people on the cheek. I do kiss people on the hand. I do embrace people. I do hug people, men and women. I do, on occasion, say “Ciao, bella.” On occasion, I do slip and say “sweetheart” or “darling” or “honey.” I do banter with people. I do tell jokes—some better than others. I am the same person in public that I am in private. You have seen me do it on TV in all my briefings and for 40 years before that.
The explanation has inspired some online observers to summarize Cuomo’s defense as “I’m not a perv—I’m just Italian.”
Well, yeah, pretty much.
There are outliers that need to be investigated and explained—one former aide, for instance, alleges that the governor once groped her underneath her clothing; if true, this accusation is an entirely different subject from the others—but the general trend here is of Cuomo behaving exactly as a 63-year-old Italian man would be expected to behave. “In my mind, I have never crossed the line with anyone,” the governor said in his resignation announcement last week, “but I didn’t realize the extent to which the line has been redrawn.”
Now, I have no sympathy for a certain kind of self-professed conservative who dismisses these kinds of concerns wholesale. There is a very real crisis of male-on-female sexual abuse in our post-moral society, and there is almost certainly a disproportionate concentration of offenders among those in positions of power. But there is very little evidence to suggest that Andrew Cuomo is actually one of them.
He is accused, in one instance, of kissing a constituent on the cheek; in another of kissing a woman on the hand; and in a couple of placing his hand on women’s lower backs. You have to work really, really hard to be offended by any of this.
As Matt Purple noted here in TAC way back in March, it’s certainly convenient that Cuomo’s harassment problems surfaced right as scrutiny was being applied to his horrific and deadly bungling of nursing home policy in the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic. Cuomo’s disastrous decision to force nursing homes to take Covid-positive patients led to a massive wave of unnecessary deaths, and then the Cuomo administration buried the death tolls in order to avoid accountability. In an interesting detail that’s hardly been glanced at in most media coverage, similar policies were taken by a number of prominent Democratic governors, including Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania. It all makes Cuomo’s MeToo downfall look a whole lot like a “controlled demolition.” (Remember when Ralph Northam took the Democrats’ abortion logic a little too far in a viral interview, and then—coincidentally—two days later he was all over the web with decades-old greasepaint on his face?)
He may not be a perv, but the man responsible for thousands of avoidable deaths in New York—who then actively perpetrated a cover-up of his lethal malfeasance—seems to be something much worse. He’ll never be held accountable for that though—maybe because he wouldn’t go down alone.
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