It’s been roughly a year since women began coming forward to accuse Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment. To mark the anniversary of the beginning of the ostensible end of his political career, the former New York governor appears to be trying to get back in the game. In an interview with Bloomberg published Monday, Cuomo was playing pool as he said that he would not resign if he could go back and do it again. “I never resigned because I said I did something wrong,” Cuomo said. “I said, I’m resigning because I don’t want to be a distraction.”
Despite projecting an aura of nonchalance, Cuomo is taking direct aim at his enemies. Much of the conversation centered on his critiques of New York attorney general Letitia James’s report on his alleged misconduct, which found evidence that he sexually harassed 11 women while in office, including credible allegations of groping. He described James’s 168-page report, backed by hundreds of pages of transcripts, as “prosecutorial misconduct” and politically motivated. (James announced a run for governor in October before suspending her nascent campaign in December, saying she would instead run for reelection for the office she currently holds.) A spokesperson for the AG did not pull punches in their response: “No one, including Andrew Cuomo, can dispute the fact that multiple investigations found allegations of sexual harassment against him to be credible. Only he is to blame for inappropriately touching his own staff and then quitting so he didn’t have to face impeachment. His baseless attacks won’t change the reality — Andrew Cuomo is a serial sexual harasser.”
The timing of Cuomo’s rec-room revival likely has to do with the last of five criminal inquiries into his alleged misconduct getting dropped last week, when the Oswego County district attorney announced there was not enough evidence to charge him for allegedly groping a National Grid employee in 2017. “It turns out in a remarkably short period of time that it did become all bogus,” he told Bloomberg. “If you do an honest summary, which is what I get from people on the street, I have been vindicated.” But prosecutors are not as forgiving as the salt-of-the-earth types who he says have absolved his sins. When the inquiry was abandoned in Oswego County, the DA said that the decision was “not an exoneration” and that current state laws “fail to properly hold offenders accountable and fail to adequately protect victims.”
While Cuomo refused to answer direct questions about a possible run for a fourth term in November, or even a direct challenge to James in the AG race, there are other indications that he’s setting up for a comeback. Rita Glavin, his attorney, has been holding press briefings to try and poke holes in the AG’s report that caused her client to resign. (“The truth is important to him,” she has said.) He has spent over $1 million in campaign money since stepping down, with $16 million remaining to burn, per state Board of Elections records. And according to The Wall Street Journal, he and his aides are trying to figure out when and where he should make his first public speech.