New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D., expected staffers to document and track which networks carried his coronavirus press conferences live and for how many minutes of the day, according to Friday’s edition of the New York Times podcast, “The Daily.”
The notoriety Cuomo received for his coronavirus press briefings during the height of the pandemic allegedly went to the governor’s head and made him feel “almost indestructible,” evidenced by positive nightly news coverage, donning the cover of Rolling Stone magazine and an Emmy win.
“These briefings did to some extent go to his head according to people who were close to him,” said Times national politics reporter, Shane Goldmacher.
“He began asking staffers what networks carried him live and for how long and there were expectations that they would begin to document this for him so he could find out just how many minutes that day MSNBC or CNN had carried his broadcast.”
In addition, the Times said the joke-filled interview appearances with his brother Chris Cuomo on CNN made the governor begin to buy into his own “hype.”
“And Andrew Cuomo really does begin to relish this attention. The nighttime appearances on his brother’s primetime show on CNN. And I think according to people close to him he felt almost indestructible at that moment,” Goldmacher said.
The podcast also revealed the audio of a 2018 telephone conversation where Cuomo threatened to compare a progressive leader to a “child rapist” because he wasn’t happy with the group’s tepid political endorsement of him.
The Times obtained a transcription of the phone conversation between Cuomo and Bill Lipton, the head of the Working Families Party, in February. At the time, Cuomo’s office said the exchange never happened.
However, on Friday, The Daily published the audio of that call that confirmed Cuomo’s incendiary comment.
“If you ever say, ‘Well he’s better than a Republican’ again, then I’m gonna say, ‘You’re better than a child rapist.’ How about that?” Cuomo is heard telling Lipton on the call, according to the audio.
These newly unearthed anecdotes about Cuomo come as his media coverage has taken a drastic tonal shift in 2021 from the previous year. Cuomo faces an onslaught of sexual harassment allegations, claims that he intimidated other lawmakers, and charges he covered up coronavirus nursing home deaths in New York from federal authorities.
Alyssa McGrath, a current aide in his administration, is the latest woman to step forward with harassment claims against Cuomo. She recalled to the New York Times multiple instances of inappropriate behavior, including times where Cuomo ogled her body and made comments about her appearance.
Despite growing calls for his removal, Cuomo has refuted the claims and said he will not resign.
Fox News’ Marisa Schultz contributed to this report.