Alone and Out of Options: How Cuomo Finally Gave Up the Fight
As Monday moved forward and lawmakers discussed impeachment at the Capitol complex, Mr. Cuomo was drafting resignation remarks in the executive residence. He was joined by Ms DeRosa, who set his official departure to align with Mr Cuomo’s in two weeks, and another advisor, Stephanie Benton. But most of the writing was his own, according to one person with direct knowledge of the matter, reflecting his equivocal feelings about it: he would tell New Yorkers that he loved them, that he would leave them and that the claims against him, despite his decision on Tuesday, were not entirely to be believed.
Several people who know Mr Cuomo have likened his choice to his first murderous political failure: the 2002 Democratic primary for governor, when Mr Cuomo vowed to fight in a race he was on the verge of losing, before to conclude a few days before the vote that leaving the contest would save his face and position him for a political comeback. (A small contingent of people around Mr. Cuomo believe he might run again in the future, if the legislature doesn’t prevent him from doing so through impeachment proceedings.)
On Tuesday morning, although few knew exactly what would happen in the next few hours, something seemed to be moving at Mr. Cuomo’s office in Midtown. The 38th floor briefing area – the space where, for more than a decade, he had held swaggering press conferences on his executive exploits – has been set up for public remarks. At least one staff member around 8 a.m. was advised to wear a suit to work, often the surest signal of an impending Cuomo visit.
Before noon, Mr. Cuomo took a seat at the briefing table, flanked by an American flag and the state flag. A senior official had encouraged staff to join the governor, fearing he might find himself faced with an empty room. A few were in tears as they took their places in chairs typically reserved for the press.
Mr. Cuomo took a breath to pull himself together. He found the camera and looked straight ahead.
“Let’s go,” he said. He was ready.
The report was provided by Luis Ferré-Sadurní, Grace Ashford, J. David Goodman, Shane Goldmacher and Michel Gold.
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