A Governor in Isolation: How Andrew Cuomo Lost His Grip on New York



Longtime advisers and allies have helped the governor navigate the series of crises. They include two former top aides, Steven M. Cohen, the former secretary to the governor, and William Mulrow, another former secretary to the governor who now works at the private equity firm Blackstone; Melissa DeRosa, the governor’s top aide; Mr. Cuomo’s pollster, Jefrey Pollock; and Beth Garvey, special counsel to the governor.

The result on Wednesday was an uncharacteristically rattled chief executive, who delivered an emotional apology for his conduct but insisted that he had never “touched anyone inappropriately” and that he did not intend to resign.

“Palace intrigue aside, there’s a job to be done and New Yorkers elected the governor to do it,” a spokesman for the governor, Richard Azzopardi, said in a statement. “Which is why he has been focused on getting as many shots in arms as possible, making sure New York is getting its fair share in Washington’s Covid relief package and working on a state budget that is due in three weeks.”

People who have been in touch with Mr. Cuomo’s team described some staff members — in particular, younger ones — as demoralized and exhausted, as a series of controversies play out on top of a year of navigating Covid-19 in an exceptionally demanding environment.

Several staff members have departed his office in recent days, citing a variety of reasons. Among those who have left are Gareth Rhodes, who served as a member of the state coronavirus task force and was a frequent guest star during Mr. Cuomo’s news briefings, and members of his press team.

As the Legislature heads into high-stakes budget negotiations, even Mr. Cuomo’s traditional allies acknowledge that his influence has taken a hit.

“It’s made his job more difficult,” said Jay Jacobs, the New York State Democratic Party chairman, who said he had spoken with Mr. Cuomo on Thursday. “When you’re under this kind of pressure, that’s going to influence the amount of, the degree of, your political strength.”


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