Gov. Andrew Cuomo's (D) aides are the first to say the governor is brash, loud, and gets irritated easily.
But his style of governing has come into question after state Sen. Ron Kim (D) accused the governor of "abusing his powers" when threatening Kim's career if he didn't cover up the governor's nursing home COVID-19 deaths scandal. Interviews with dozens of lawmakers, former officials, political consultants and other insiders have since backed up Kim's assessment — with a few exceptions, The New York Times reports.
In the days after Kim shared his story, Cuomo's longtime enemy New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the governor's threats were "classic Andrew Cuomo." Karen Hinton, a communications consultant who worked with Cuomo, told the Times that "his primary tool for governing is to create fear." And other anonymous sources recalled how he once threatened to compare then-Democratic primary rival Cynthia Nixon to a "child rapist," and that he seemed proud of the so-called "mean girl" female aides in his office.
State Sen. Liz Krueger (D) meanwhile says she has never faced Cuomo's wrath, and knows she's one of a privileged few. As Krueger, the head of the Senate's finance committee, recalled to the Times, Cuomo's former aide Joseph Percoco told her once that she was on Cuomo's "do-not-yell-at list." "I responded, 'You people have such a list?'" Krueger told the Times. “He said: 'It is very small.'"
Percoco is currently in jail serving a sentence for conspiracy and bribery charges. Cuomo's senior adviser Richard Azzopardi meanwhile contended that the governor "get[s] impatient with partisan politics and disingenuous attacks," but that New Yorkers "know you must fight to change the status quo and special interests to make progress." Read more at The New York Times.