Since resigning from office in August, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo has begun sending out missives to supporters that do three things: reiterate his accomplishments while in office, relitigate the damning attorney general’s report that prompted his resignation and repeat his own claims that the current administration is incompetent.
On Monday, his supporters received a letter which stated:
"I fear the state is in a dangerous moment. We are seeing extremists and political expediency rule the day and 'the tail is wagging the dog' in the Democratic Party. Government incompetence, political slogans and pandering are prevailing."
Capital Tonight asked state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins to comment on Cuomo’s statements.
“I’m sorry that he’s doing this,” Stewart-Cousins said. “I understand that he has a lot of time on his hands. But I was hoping that time would be spent in introspection, frankly.”
The majority leader said she wasn’t clear on what the “danger” was that Cuomo referred to in his letter to supporters.
“I’m just feeling like the same kind of thing is being said by former President Trump about where we are,” she explained.
Far from agreeing with Cuomo, the majority leader said she believes the women who accused him of sexual misconduct. She also stated that New York state is in a good place right now after traveling a rough road, due primarily to his actions.
“For him, I think it would be beneficial if he would keep his comments in a more positive light,” she concluded. “A lot has happened and we as a state were subjected to a lot while all of the various investigations and probes were going on.”
As for new Gov. Kathy Hochul, the majority leader is not ready to endorse her for governor in 2022, but said she’s "doing what she has to do."
“Gov. Hochul has been there for a month. She is looking at the landscape. She is making personnel changes. She is signing legislation that we advanced. She’s doing what she has to do,” she said.
Stewart-Cousins was also asked about whether or not she supported the Democratic candidate for Buffalo mayor, India Walton, who faces a tough general election since incumbent Byron Brown is waging an aggressive write-in campaign.
“I have not met Miss Walton, but I certainly support the person who wins the Democratic nomination,” the majority leader said.
Finally, while the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) may have voted this week to do a little introspection of its own (examining its approval of former Gov. Cuomo’s $5.1 million book deal), Stewart Cousins said she has not changed her position on the state ethics panel.
“We have talked about how JCOPE needs to be reformed. For me, I kept somebody off of it for a long time until I was feeling that we were in a position that JCOPE would actually begin to function in a way that made sense,” she said.
According to Stewart-Cousins, the Senate Democratic Conference continues to look at ways to change or “scrap” it.
Both state Sens. Liz Krueger and Alessandra Biaggi are carrying legislation that would replace JCOPE.