Embattled New York Governor Andrew Cuomo obsessively wanted to know what the ratings for his daily TV briefings were during the pandemic, according to former aides and sources who have shared more claims about his brash and attention-seeking leadership style.
Cuomo is facing mounting calls to step down amid a landslide of allegations of sexual harassment, bullying and racism. He is also facing tough criticism of his handling of the number of nursing home deaths that happened across the state as a result of COVID-19.
The 63-year-old governor is refusing to step down and instead has vowed to carry on serving, saying he is the best person for the job.
On Monday, he refused to take questions from the media and didn’t even invite them to his public appearance at a vaccine site where he announced he was going to get the Johnson and Johnson vaccine soon.
As the walls close in around him, more and more aides are speaking out anonymously to share details of what kind of boss he is.
In a New York Times article published on Sunday, some described how he ‘quizzed’ them about how many people watched his daily briefings during the height of the pandemic.
They say that almost immediately after the cameras cut away, he demanded to know which networks broadcast him live, how long they let him stay on for and when they cut away.
Embattled New York Governor Andrew Cuomo obsessively wanted to know what the ratings for his daily TV briefings were during the pandemic, according to former aides
CNN – where his brother works – aired the broadcasts daily and normally cut away only during the question portion of the briefing. Others, depending on the day and context, cut away sooner.
Cuomo won an Emmy for the briefings. On the 111th day of them, he said: ‘To the 59 million viewers who shared in these daily briefings, thank you.’
Aides say that far from being the collaborative leader he was presenting himself as, he was so desperate not to share the spotlight that he went to great lengths to avoid having to.
On one occasion, he said to have insisted on greeting the USNS Comfort – a hospital ship sanctioned by President Donald Trump to be sent to New York City after Cuomo begged him for it but which was never filled – on a separate pier from NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The pair routinely held sparring press briefings where they took jabs at one another.
According to the Times piece, Cuomo was angry when de Blasio received a shipment of supplies from FEMA.
On March 30, Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio were due to do a joint press conference to welcome the USNS Comfort to Manhattan. According to sources, Cuomo pulled out of it and then held his own event an hour earlier on a different pier
Mayor Bill de Blasio on March 30, giving his press conference at Pier 90
Albany politicians say Cuomo was ‘the enforcer’ for his father Mario when he worked for him
He contacted the regional administrator, Thomas Von Essen, and berated him, sources said.
In another incident, he allegedly pulled out of a planned joint appearance to welcome the USNS Comfort to New York City and showed up an hour before de Blasio to hold his own event.
His spokesman denied that he ever pulled out of a joint event, and said he also did not berate the FEMA administrator.
New York politicians said the ‘problem’ with Cuomo was that he had burned so many bridges that he has ‘no path forward’.
‘The problem with Cuomo is no one has ever liked him. He’s not a nice person and he doesn’t have any real friends. If you don’t have a base of support and you get into trouble, you’re dead meat,’ Richard Ravitch, a former Democratic lieutenant governor, SAID.
State Senator Alessandra Biaggi said: ‘I have not met a person yet in New York politics who has a good relationship with Andrew Cuomo.
‘And I’m not saying “close relationship,”
‘I’m saying “good relationship.” Even people who are close to him I cannot say in good faith have a good relationship with him.’
They said that when he was working for his father, the late former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, the younger Cuomo was known as the ‘enforcer’.
‘Mario got to be the nice guy, and when it was time for someone not to be the nice guy, it was Andrew’s job.
‘He was very good at it,’ Assemblyman Richard N. Gottfried said.