As pressure mounts for Andrew Cuomo to resign over dueling scandals, New York’s Democratic governor seemed to follow an age-old political playbook by seeing refuge with Black leaders ready to defend him.
Mission accomplished, as Cuomo on Wednesday stopped by a Black church in Harlem to have New York City’s Black political establishment come to his rescue from accusations of sexual harassment and allegations the governor knowingly rigged data about coronavirus deaths in the state’s nursing homes.
The New York Daily News was there at Mount Neboh Baptist Church and reported that retired longtime Congressman Charles Rangel spoke of Cuomo like he was a relative and urged patience to allow the New York State attorney general’s office investigation to take its course before people rush to conclusions.
“When people start piling up on you… you go to your family and you go to your friends because you know that they are going to be with you,” Rangel said at an event held after Cuomo received the one-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in the historically Black community. “Due process and hearing is basically what we believe in in this country.”
Assemblywoman Inez Dickens put it more bluntly: “back off until you’ve got some facts.”
Reaching out to Black leaders for a political lifeline wasn’t the only PR tactic Cuomo has used in hopes of taking attention away from the parade of women who have come forward with accusations of sexual harassment and at least one claim of groping a former staffer. Earlier this week, Cuomo made a move to ingratiate himself with lawmakers and constituents alike by ramping up efforts to make marijuana fully legal for adults in the Empire State.
The probable working logic is that expediting the passing of such legislation would put him back in the favor of his pro-weed Democratic colleagues who have increasingly called for his resignation and were contemplating impeachment. It might also further endear him to New Yorkers, about 50% of whom support him, according to recent polling.
That was true even though the FBI, as well as the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, is investigating Cuomo for allegedly altering COVID-19-related deaths data to cover up the number of people dying in the state’s nursing homes.
In the meantime, the New York State legislature is deciding whether to move forward with a formal impeachment process against Cuomo on the grounds that he can no longer effectively govern while battling two major investigations, both of which could potentially result in criminal charges.
Seeing white leaders in existential distress run to the Black community for validation is nothing new. In fact, that was the same script we saw the Royal Family stick to last week after they were accused of being racist against Meghan Markle and her young child with husband Prince Harry.
Days after their damning interview with Oprah Winfrey, Prince Charles visited a Black church in an obvious effort to deflect attention from the notion that he harbored any racist feelings. It was reported that Charles had not visited that church since 2007.
Meanwhile, Charles’ son and Harry’s brother, Prince William, pulled a similar PR stunt the following day at a multi-cultural school in London, where he just happened to be flanked by a Black staffer. It’s doubtful the displays fooled anyone.
It’s not just white leaders who follow this tried and true formula of redemption.
Actress Stacey Dash, a Black woman who spent the bulk of the last decade disrespecting Black people while defending all-things Donald Trump, is now — conveniently — realizing the error of her ways as she attempts a comeback tour to the Black community.