A House Republican who has mulled challenging Gov. Andrew Cuomo in next year’s gubernatorial race “for months” compared him to disgraced lawmaker Anthony Weiner while discussing the newfound urgency of his 2022 run with The Post.
Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY), whose district includes some of the Finger Lakes and the cities of Ithaca and Jamestown, equated both men’s treatment of colleagues and subordinates with the lack of support they received from fellow Democrats in their times of need while speaking to The Post in an interview Thursday.
“[Cuomo’s] character, his ego, his arrogance, his intimidation, his governing by threat was not limited to Republicans, it was applied to Republican, Democrat or anybody — regardless of their party — who got in his way,” Reed began, noting how multiple lawmakers had accused the embattled governor of bullying or threatening them.
Reed, who co-chairs the bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus, went on to say that “now what is happening reminds me of the Anthony Weiner situation that we lived through in Congress,” noting that like in the former House Democrat’s case, “people who received that type of treatment, regardless of party, they’re now not coming to [Cuomo’s] aid.”
Weiner, a former congressman from New York whose serial sexting cost him his political career and later sent him to prison, initially became engulfed in scandal in May 2011.
The then up-and-coming lawmaker initially refused to step down, managing to hold out just over a week before Democratic leadership, including then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and then-President Obama, called for his resignation.
Cuomo, meanwhile, is facing the fight of his political life following sexual harassment claims from three former aides.
That scandal hit the Cuomo administration following The Post’s bombshell report last month that top aide Melissa DeRosa privately admitted his administration hid the total number of nursing home residents killed by COVID-19 from lawmakers and the public over fear that federal prosecutors would use it “against us.”
The scoop has sparked calls for Cuomo to be impeached and a probe by the FBI and Brooklyn US Attorney’s Office.
Cuomo’s fellow Democrats, Reed told The Post, understand that “You reap what you sow, and if that’s how you treat people, you’re going to eventually have no friends, and rightfully so.”
Asked about the embattled Democrat’s refusal to resign during his first press conference since the scandal erupted this week, Reed said he wasn’t surprised, cautioning that the governor would need to be removed.
“I knew he wasn’t going to resign. I don’t think his ego will allow him to resign. So I think the only way Gov. Cuomo leaves office is after the investigation and impeachment,” the New York Republican said, adding that he was pleased to see that the governor planned to cooperate with the probe.
“These are employees, these are folks that work for you. We’ve all been through training, and that inappropriate type of interaction with employees speaks for itself,” he continued.
Reed, who decried “the one-party control of Albany,” went on to take aim at the nursing home scandal directly, saying it played into Cuomo’s “pattern of intimidation and abuse of his position.”
“It’s best represented by the obstruction of justice and perjury investigation now about his number two that ultimately could lead to him. The Department of Justice legally is entitled to this nursing home data, and they unilaterally made the decision that they didn’t need to respond to it,” the House lawmaker said, “That type of untouchable hypocrisy and power is just, fundamentally, where I differ with Gov. Cuomo.”
The Problem Solvers Caucus chairman said when asked the likelihood of Albany actually impeaching the governor that he viewed this Cuomo as different than others.
“The only way [impeachment is] going to occur if it’s bipartisan. That also means the investigation has to be bipartisan support and independent, and they do have that. That’s what makes the big difference in my opinion of how this could be successful,” he noted.
Reed likened his governing style to that of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, two moderate Republicans who won in safely blue states.
In his capacity as chairman of the Problem Solvers Caucus, Reed was one of the leading House lawmakers behind the $908 billion COVID relief bill signed by then-President Trump at the end of last year.
It was his bipartisan coalition that helped reignite talks between House and Senate leadership on reaching a deal after the November election.
Support for the caucus’ efforts only grew as the holidays approached, with then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Pelosi eventually pledging that the chambers would not break for Christmas without the package being pushed through.
Reed, who says he plans to continue his push for bipartisanship, said the lack thereof in Albany left him gravely concerned.
“They are adopting policies and putting the state on a trajectory that is really harming folks,” he noted, “Even other Democrats are saying this is too far on things like bail reform, quality of life issues, public safety issues, tax policies that are driving people out of the state.”