The New Normal: Analysts break down the impact of Gov. Cuomo's resignation on COVID-19 response

Michah Rasmussen, the director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics, says there's no question that Cuomo did the right thing by resigning.

News 12 Staff

Aug 11, 2021, 1:34 AM

Updated 1,078 days ago


Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday he is resigning effective in two weeks in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will take his place nearly a year after the Democrat was hailed nationally for his leadership during the pandemic.
Michah Rasmussen, the director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics, says there's no question that Cuomo did the right thing. Rasmussen says Cuomo needed to end the discussion and help New York turn the page.
"There's no way that was going to happen as long as he held onto power," says Rasmussen. "The questions were going to keep on coming every single day."
Rasmussen says the immediate legacy is that Cuomo is letting New York turn the page with a group of "three very dynamic women" who will now be leading the state from Albany.
As far as Cuomo's response to COVID, Dr. Kristoffer Shields, from the Eagleton Center on the American Governor at Rutgers, says it's really a tale of two pandemics for the governor.
He says in the early stages, Cuomo was clearly one of the leading voices. Shields says he believes people appreciated Cuomo's honesty and openness in the beginning.
However, a year and half is a long time and Shields says with a series of scandals and an "ill-timed" book it made things complicated for Cuomo. Shields say Cuomo will be remembered for the early days but also for the things that happened towards the end.
Shields says part of the problem with the book is that Cuomo thought the worst was over but now it's circling back with the delta variant.
"He wasn't able to carry through that momentum as we continued through the crisis," says Shields.
When it comes to things Cuomo did right and what went wrong, Rasmussen says the nursing home death scandal was a big problem.
"What really set Cuomo apart, there's no question, is deliberately withholding those numbers, admitting that they were withholding those numbers because they didn't want Trump to put them in any sought of legal peril," says Rasmussen.
Rasmussen says Cuomo getting on top of the crisis and helping get the state out from having the highest numbers to having the lowest numbers was one of his high points.
"He didn't write the book on crisis management he executed it, but he executed it well," says Rasmussen.
With Hochul set to take over in two weeks, what are some of the changes that New Yorkers can expect? Former Executive Director of the New York state Democratic Party Dr. Basil Smikle Jr. says he thinks Hochul will adopt some similar practices when it comes to mask policies and other precautions.
Smikle says he also thinks there will be key differences when it comes to having a better working relationship with Mayor Bill de Blasio and members of the Legislature.

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