GOP Turns Ire Toward Cuomo’s Possible Successor

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BUFFALO, NY (WBFO) – Calls are growing for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign in light of allegations of sexual harassment and a cover-up of nursing home deaths. Now New York Republicans are preparing for that possibility and trying to put the microscope on the person who would succeed Cuomo: the lieutenant governor and Buffalo native Kathy Hochul.

State GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy, during a press conference in downtown Buffalo Wednesday, called on Hochul to reveal what, if anything, she knows about Cuomo’s numerous scandals.

New York State Republican Party Chairman Nick Langworthy holds a press conference in downtown Buffalo Wednesday to call on Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul to reveal what she knows about Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s scandals. TOM DINKI/WBFO NEWS

“What does Kathy Hochul know? What role did she play in any of it? When did she know these various allegations?” Langworthy said. “She hasn’t come clean on anything.”

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook in Amsterdam in August 2016.

Hochul on Tuesday tweeted her support of the state Attorney General’s independent investigation into the harassment allegations against Cuomo, saying she’s confident “everyone’s voices will be heard and taken seriously.” WBFO reached out to her office on Wednesday for comment about Langworthy’s criticisms, but did not immediately hear back.

Cuomo has now been accused by six women of misconduct, including four former aides and one aide who still works in his office. Another woman, who worked for the Biden campaign, accused Cuomo of making an unwanted advance at a wedding in 2019. Cuomo has denied touching anyone inappropriately. 

Cuomo has also faced criticism for months about his handling of nursing homes during the pandemic. His administration made a maligned March 2020 executive order that placed over 6,000 COVID-positive hospital patients into nursing homes, and undercounted nursing home COVID deaths by as much as 50% by not revealing how many nursing home residents died after being taken to hospital.

The latest brewing scandal involves the Hudson River bridge Cuomo named after his late father. The Albany Times-Union reported this weekend that the Cuomo administration covered up safety concerns about the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge.

“New Yorkers have a right to know what Kathy Hochul’s involvement in all of this has been,” Langworthy said.

Langworthy painted a no-win scenario for Hochul, saying the lieutenant governor is either truly Cuomo’s No. 1 deputy and therefore complicit in the scandals, or simply a figurehead with no real influence or role in Cuomo’s inner circle.

“She talks about how she’s the governor’s right hand and she’s working directly with Andrew Cuomo to get so many great things done,” Langworthy said. “Is she there as a goodwill ambassador or is she an actual government official?

“Kathy Hochul can’t have it both ways. She can’t come home and tell everyone how much juice she has in this administration, and then get away with saying, ‘I know nothing. I know nothing,’” Langworthy added.

Hochul, 62, previously served as Erie County clerk and representative for New York’s 26th Congressional District. She is in the middle of her second term as lieutenant governor.

If Cuomo does resign or is removed from office, Hochul would become the first female governor in the history of New York. Before that happens, Langworthy said Hochul must be upfront with the public and the media about what she knows about Cuomo.

 “This doesn’t wait until she becomes governor. This should be answered today,” Langworthy said. “We should demand the answers of her like people are demanding the answers of the governor. I mean, she’s one heartbeat away. Any minute now he could decide this is too much and he’s out. And then she’s the governor. So what role and responsibility has she had for any of the three dark clouds hanging over this administration?”

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