Scandal-scarred Andrew Cuomo reemerges with new PAC and podcast

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo prepares to board a helicopter after announcing his resignation, Aug. 10, 2021, in New York. A onetime aide to former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo sued him Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022 saying he sexually harassed her then smeared her reputation when she became the second woman to tell her story publicly. Charlotte Bennett is the second of Cuomo’s accusers to file a civil lawsuit. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Did you miss Andrew Cuomo? Well, he’s back in a big way.

The former governor, who resigned last year after being hit with over a dozen accusations of sexual harassment, announced through a video – where he directly addressed the camera for eight uninterrupted minutes – that he’ll be reentering public life with a new political action committee, podcast and gun safety initiative.

After spending time with his family, reconnecting with nature and picking up some new hobbies since his resignation last August, Cuomo said he’s decided to come back to politics because he’s “very concerned” about the current state of the country. Cuomo decried what he characterized as rampant political polarization and division as well as “cancel culture” run a muck on social media platforms like Twitter – something he believes himself to be the victim of.

“We are more divided than at any time since the civil war,” Cuomo said. “No one talks, everyone yells and no one believes anyone. It’s all about partisan and personal politics rather than sound and smart policy. 

“Social media has created a political Roman Colosseum that encourages the loud and the mean and the outrageous,” he continued. “The heated rhetoric of the extreme minority dominates the dialogue. Defund this, condemn those, cancel that, lock out them and do it now, right now. It’s a Twitter mob, but the mob has power and many politicians and press are afraid to challenge it, less the mob turn on them. In fact, many vie to lead the mob.”

The Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters and the day-to-day gridlock in Congress and state legislatures are clear consequences of this political polarization and cancel culture, he said.

That’s why, Cuomo said, he’s starting a PAC to get who he sees as the “right people” into elected office.

“We do not need more panderers, we need producers,” Cuomo said. “We need people committed to fight for change and who get results. We need people who have the character and the capacity to lead and take the heat that goes with leadership because that is the job.”

The former governor is also going to literally be putting his voice back into the political conversation by launching a weekly podcast to hear “what’s on your mind” and to “discuss ways to help improve the situation.”

“Now this forum will be different,” he said. “My intention is to speak the full truth, unvarnished from the inside-out, frank and candid. This show will have different formats but more than anything, I want to have the conversation with you. Because it is about you. And you having the right information. And your political will to make a difference.”

What the ex-governor’s video didn’t contain was any sign of remorse or any kind of apology to the 11 women – including current and former state employees – who accused him of sexual misconduct last year. Cuomo has consistently denied the accusations and tried to undermine his accusers even after stepping down from office following a report based by state Attorney General Letitia James that corroborated the allegations.

Cuomo has also questioned the legitimacy of James’ report, which he originally called for, filing an ethics complaint against her and outside lawyers who led the investigation earlier this month.

This isn’t the first time Cuomo has attempted to reenter the political sphere after stepping down. He publicly toyed with the idea of challenging his successor Governor Kathy Hochul in this year’s governor’s race, putting his still sizable campaign war chest to use, but ultimately didn’t put his name on the ballot.

The former governor ended his comeback video by calling on people to come together and fight and unnamed common enemy.

“We can do this, we will overcome, but we must start fighting the enemy and we must stop fighting each other,” Cuomo said. “We can, we will, let’s do it. And let’s do it together.”