Andrew Cuomo was handed a seven figure advance for his pandemic memoir – but sales are plummeting in the wake of the dual scandals plaguing the New York governor, according to a report Monday.
His book, American Crisis: Leadership Lessons From the COVID-19 Pandemic, was widely criticized when it was published in October last year as the virus continued to rage in the state and around the world.
But its publisher, Crown, thought that it had found ‘another political star’, Vanity Fair reports, and shelled out the hefty advance for the book.
Now sales are taking a hit. A spokesman for BookScan told the outlet: ‘We can confirm that the title’s sales have dropped in the last five weeks, and for context, this is not reflective of a larger market trend.’
Cuomo, 63, faces a federal investigation into claims of a cover up of the true COVID-19 death toll in nursing homes and an independent investigation into claims of sexual harassment by former aides.
He is said to have been backed into corner with ‘few allies’ to defend him and ‘many people who don’t like him’, according to one political analyst.
On Sunday he remained defiant, vowing not to step down in a call with reporters – despite a growing list of 50 New York lawmakers calling on him to step down or be impeached.
Echoing comments he made in a news conference last week, Cuomo acknowledged he’d made jokes and asked personal questions in an attempt to be collegial and frequently greeted people with hugs and kisses. He has denied touching anyone inappropriately.
But sources tell the New York Times he is shaken and his fall from grace reminds them of ex-governor Eliot Spitzer, who resigned in 2008 after patronizing a prostitution service.
A sex scandal also helped derail the careers of his other predecessors; David Paterson ended his reelection bid in 2010 after acknowledging extramarital affairs.
Andrew Cuomo faces a federal investigation into claims of a cover up of the true COVID-19 death toll in nursing homes and an independent investigation into claims of sexual harassment by former aides
Eliot Spitzer, who resigned in 2008 after patronizing a prostitution service, is pictured with his wife Silda Wall Spitze
Political analyst George Arzt said: ‘The governor is in trouble because he’s a very tough guy and there are many people who don’t like him.
‘He doesn’t have that reservoir of friends and good feeling to sort of push back. At this point, you don’t see many surrogates out there, and that’s a problem.
‘Spitzer at one point thought that he could fight it, and that was quickly given up when he realized that his allies were not saying a word.’
Cuomo had called on New York Democrats in the immediate aftermath of the nursing homes scandal first being reported but appears to have gone quiet since allegations of sexual harassment also emerged.
State Senator Liz Krueger said: ‘None of my colleagues have said they have heard from the governor on this.
‘I distinctly remember with Spitzer, watching it all go down and saying at the time to myself, if he just had a few more friends who were willing to stand by him, I bet he could get past this.
‘But it was all really rapid, and there wasn’t anybody coming forward.’
She has tweeted calling for Cuomo’s resignation, adding: ‘I stand with Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins in calling for the Governor to resign.
‘Our state is rightly crying out for truthful, transparent government. The people’s business is too pressing to continue to be derailed in this way.’
Analyst Arzt says Cuomo does have ‘his own inner circle that is still ready to go to war with him’, adding: ‘I do believe if anyone can get out of this, he can. If no other shoe drops. tremendous skill as a tactician.’
Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf added: ‘Eliot Spitzer had no friends. Andrew Cuomo has some friends.’
Cuomo is pictured alongside his top aide Melissa DeRosa, who remains a close ally
Cuomo did reemerge after nine days without a news conference last week following meetings with a small group of loyal aides. Those include Melissa DeRosa, pollster Jefrey Pollock, right, special counsel Beth Garvey and former aides Steven M. Cohen, left, and William Mulrow
Cuomo did reemerge after nine days without a news conference last week following meetings with a small group of loyal aides.
Those include Melissa DeRosa, pollster Jefrey Pollock, special counsel Beth Garvey and former aides Steven M. Cohen and William Mulrow.
Others on his team have been described as ‘demoralized and exhausted’; some have left the office.
State Senator Rachel May, a Democrat from Syracuse, said of allegations the nursing home death toll was covered up: ‘If true, everyone involved in lying to the public and to the Legislature must resign immediately. And that includes the governor.’
Two women came forward with allegations on Saturday, bringing the total to five and prompting State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins to call for Cuomo’s resignation Sunday.
On Friday, his office was forced to deny claims his aides massaged the data on the deaths back in July in order to hide the true extent of the crisis. The same day, New York State lawmakers passed a bill stripping Cuomo of his emergency powers.
Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said: ‘For the good of the state Governor Cuomo must resign. Every day there is another account that is drawing away from the business of government’
Sen. Liz Krueger tweeted: ‘I stand with Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins in calling for the Governor to resign. Our state is rightly crying out for truthful, transparent government. The people’s business is too pressing to continue to be derailed in this way’
‘For the good of the state Governor Cuomo must resign,’ said Stewart-Cousins, a fellow Democrat who has publicly sparred with Cuomo in the past. ‘Every day there is another account that is drawing away from the business of government.’
‘We have allegations about sexual harassment, a toxic work environment, the loss of credibility surrounding the COVID-19 nursing home data and questions about the construction of a major infrastructure project,’ the majority leader added, referring to the numerous controversies swirling in Albany.
Those calling for his resignation also includes Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.
Others are calling for his impeachment. That would require a majority vote in the 150-seat Assembly, followed by a two-thirds vote in favor of conviction in state Senate.
The governor has repeatedly insisted that he will not step down, including on a call with reporters on Sunday where he refuted allegations from one of his latest accusers, Karen Hinton.
Hinton, 62, and Ana Liss, 35, both made their separate allegations of sexual harassment against Cuomo, 63, on Sunday.
Hinton told the Washington Post about a 2000 incident when she said Cuomo summoned her to his ‘dimly lit’ hotel room and embraced her after a work event.
She said she tried to pull away from Cuomo when he pulled her back and held her before she managed to escape the room.
Lindsey Boylan also revealed in a February Medium post that the governor had tried to kiss her on the lips in his office and suggested they play strip poker during a 2017 flight. Cuomo’s office has said these claims are false. Charlotte Bennett, 25, revealed this week that Cuomo had questioned her about her sex life and whether she had relationships with older men.
Ana Liss made an allegation of sexual harassment against Cuomo, 63, on Sunday
Ex and current Cuomo staffers say they’re ‘waking up to the fact they were in a cult’
Nearly a dozen former and current staffers have detailed to Gothamist/WNYC the working culture inside Gov Cuomo’s office after he was accused of sexual harassment.
Some of the staffers say they weren’t surprised by the allegations given what they claim is a bullying environment and intense work culture inside Cuomo’s office.
Former staffers have described working there as having ‘Stockholm syndrome’, while others said they’re ‘kind of waking up to the fact that we were in a cult’.
Some said Cuomo was a ‘micromanager to the 100th degree’ and had a tough management style.
One staffer who had a fellowship when she was in her 20s in 2013 described how she was quickly set up near Cuomo’s office, with staffers later telling her the governor liked blondes.
She was also told to wear stilettos when in the Albany office.
Some staffers, however, refuted the toxic workplace notions.
‘I think everyone there wants to do the best work they can. Sometimes that work-life balance is sacrificed. I was definitely burned out by the end of my time there. I didn’t take it personally,’ the staffer said.
Liss, who previously served as Cuomo’s policy and operations aide between 2013 and 2015, told the Wall Street Journal that during her time in his administration, the governor had subjected her to unsolicited advances, including touching her lower back, kissing her hand and quizzing her about her love life.
Speaking with reporters on Sunday, Cuomo said Hinton’s allegations were ‘not true’ and labeled her a ‘long-time political adversary of mine’.
‘There is no way I resign. Let the attorney general do the investigation and go from there,’ Cuomo said, adding that he will not be ‘distracted’ by the allegations.
Amid the mounting allegations, other aides spoke to both the Journal and Post about the ‘toxic’ work environment allegedly cultivated by Cuomo in his office.
It included testimonies from two male aides who claimed the governor would berate them using explicit language, calling them ‘pu**ies’ and saying that they ‘have no balls’.
Many of those aides said they would only speak on the grounds of anonymity because they were fearful of Cuomo’s ‘wrath’ and his power to destroy careers, the Post reported.
Prior to Liss and Hinton, Charlotte Bennett, 25, revealed this week that Cuomo had questioned her about her sex life and whether she had relationships with older men.
Lindsey Boylan also revealed in a February Medium post that the governor had tried to kiss her on the lips in his office and suggested they play strip poker during a 2017 flight. Cuomo’s office has said these claims are false.
A third accuser, Anna Ruch, 33, then came forward telling the New York Times that Cuomo put his hands on her face and asked if he could kiss her after meeting her at a September 2019 wedding.
The governor apologized for making the women feel uncomfortable during a press conference last week and claimed that the actions were part of his general behavior with everyone.