New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D. expected staff to document and track which networks live streamed his coronavirus press conferences and for how many minutes of the day, according to the Friday edition of the New York Times podcast, “The Daily”.
The notoriety Cuomo received for his coronavirus press briefings at the height of the pandemic would have gone to the governor’s head and made him feel “almost indestructible,” as evidenced by positive media coverage every night, donning the cover of Rolling Stone magazine and an Emmy win.
“These briefings went to his head to some extent according to people close to him,” said Times national political reporter Shane Goldmacher.
“He started asking staff members which networks were carrying him live and for how long and there were expectations that they would start documenting this for him so he could know how many minutes that day MSNBC or CNN had broadcast his show. “
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Additionally, The Times said the joke-filled appearances with his brother Chris Cuomo on CNN prompted the governor to buy his own “hype.”
“And Andrew Cuomo is really starting to savor that attention. The nighttime appearances of his brother’s prime-time show on CNN. And I think his loved ones felt almost indestructible at the time,” he said. Goldmacher said.
The podcast also revealed audio of a 2018 phone conversation where Cuomo threatened to compare a progressive leader to a “child rapist” because he was unhappy with the group’s lukewarm political approval to respect.
The Times obtained a transcript of the phone conversation between Cuomo and Bill Lipton, leader of the Working Families Party, in February. At the time, Cuomo’s office said the exchange never happened.
However, on Friday, the Daily released the audio of that call which confirmed Cuomo’s inflammatory comment.
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“If you ever say again, ‘Well he’s better than a Republican,’ then I’ll say, ‘You’re better than a child rapist.’ And that? Cuomo is heard saying to Lipton on the call, according to the audio.
These newly discovered Cuomo anecdotes come as his media coverage changed dramatically in 2021 from the previous year. Cuomo faces a wave of sexual harassment allegations, claims he has intimidated other lawmakers and accused of covering up coronavirus deaths in nursing homes in New York City by federal authorities.
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Alyssa McGrath, a current assistant to her administration, is the latest woman to bring harassment complaints against Cuomo. She reminded the New York Times of several instances of inappropriate behavior, including times when Cuomo ogled his body and made comments about his appearance.
Despite growing calls for his removal, Cuomo has refuted the allegations and said he would not resign.
Fox News’ Marisa Schultz contributed to this report.
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