I can’t say that we didn’t talk in my family about how fitting this news would have been if New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had resigned from just one day earlier, on Monday, when we held a memorial service for my husband’s parents.
A year and a half after their sudden and tragic deaths from COVID in the spring of 2020, we were finally able to have a beautiful service to honor and remember Michael "Mickey" and Dolores "Dee" Newman this week.
We held the ceremony at my father-in-law’s former firehouse in Brooklyn on Monday. Mickey served there as a firefighter and risked his life to help others for 23 years.
Mickey and Dee were real New Yorkers. They were not New Yorkers like the weak, spineless, coward of a governor who calls himself "New York Tough" but has never taken any responsibility for his deadly COVID decisions. Yes, that guy. The one who blamed God, Mother Nature, the New York Post and Fox News for his bad leadership decisions during a deadly pandemic instead of himself.
I was waiting for him to do the same thing again on Tuesday when he spoke publicly about the sexual harassment charges against him. I expected him to blame the women, call what allegedly happened just a misunderstanding, refer to the way he was brought up, pin his behavior on being Italian or claim that he didn’t remember any of the alleged incidents.
But then, all of a sudden, Cuomo began talking about doing what’s right for New Yorkers. Explaining that he wanted to avoid the weeks and months of impeachment proceedings. Saying that he wanted to spare the good citizens of New York the pain of seeing that happen.
Let me be honest, he didn’t have a choice.
It wasn’t because Cuomo wanted to help?New York?that he chose to step down.? It’s because he had nowhere else to hide.
It wasn’t because Cuomo wanted to help New York that he chose to step down. It’s because he had nowhere else to hide. The people around him were jumping off the sinking ship like rats. His campaign coffers were suddenly emptying and the people of New York were waking up.
When I heard the news about the governor’s resignation, I texted my sister-in-law, and then my husband and then my friend New York State Assemblyman Ron Kim, who had an uncle die in a nursing home last spring and who has been fearless when it comes to wanting accountability for his death.
I also texted a few of the women I’ve become close with who had to endure harassment from the same governor I believe helped kill thousands of elderly New Yorkers.
We all sent texts back and forth about how much we loved each other and how we were all in this for the right reasons.
And we recognized that the monster was finally leaving.
It’s hard not to look back on the enormous mountain we began climbing last year when we set out to hold the governor responsible for the tragic deaths of our elderly loved ones.
We had everything stacked against us. At the time, Cuomo was arguably one of the most powerful politicians in American history. He was being hailed as a possible future president and celebrated by the media and celebrities.
He got a $5.1 million advance for a book about leadership during a pandemic that soared onto the New York Times best-seller list.
Powerful people were surrounding him.
Ironically, it was on this day one year ago that Albany lawmakers rescinded my invitation to speak at a hearing about what happened to our loved ones in nursing homes. Democratic Assemblymember Richard Gottfried wrote in an email that several of the legislators were uncomfortable with my appearance.
They tried to silence my voice. Which made me want to speak louder.
There’s still a journey ahead of us with many investigations that need to be completed. And I think a few of them will ultimately lead to criminal charges against the governor
But for today, there is justice. And I am grateful to the angels who gave us strength and courage when we needed it most.
God bless our loved ones. God bless the victims who shared their stories. And I thank God for the precious souls who are no longer with us.
And if we made the governor and his enablers uncomfortable, with our chorus for justice, that’s too bad.
Because today, our voices were heard. Loud and clear.