Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday plans to create a new political action committee to help “elect the right people to office.” He also expressed his intention to form an organization focused on gun violence issues.
The eight-minute video, in which Cuomo speaks directly to camera, is the clearest answer yet to questions about his political future. It’s also his first concrete statement on an action plan after months of innuendo and speculation, much of it coming from within his own circles.
“I’m starting a political action committee to elect the right people for office,” Cuomo said. “We don’t need more fans. We need producers. We need people who are committed to fighting for change and who get results.”
Cuomo resigned in August 2021, a week after New York State Attorney General Letitia James’ office released the findings of an investigation into sexual harassment allegations against him. Since then, Cuomo has sought to undermine the report, which upheld 11 allegations of women working in or around state government, and recently filed an ethics complaint against James.
The video also featured popular criticism of social media, which has often been blamed for fueling the backlash that led to his resignation, effectively stopping state lawmakers from impeachment and impeachment.
“It’s a Twitter mob, but the mob has power and many politicians and the press are afraid to challenge it, to turn the mob against them,” Cuomo said.
Charlotte Bennett, a former Cuomo staffer and among the first of his accusers, recently filed a federal lawsuit against the former governor alleging sexual harassment and discrimination. (Cuomo has denied all the scandals surrounding his office.)
Cuomo’s presentation of his “Gun Safe America Project” drew criticism from Washington Democrats for not putting the assault weapons ban up for a vote in the Senate. The body approved the recently passed bipartisan gun legislation, but noted its limitations and said Democrats – in what could be a blow to Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, one of the leading New York politicians who called on Cuomo to resign last year – needed it. “new perspective” on the subject.
“President Biden gave a speech a couple of weeks ago saying he was determined to pass an assault weapons ban, but the Senate just passed the gun bill and it had no ban and no capacity limit,” Cuomo said. “Democrats wouldn’t even put a bill banning assault rifles on the floor to show that Republicans are blocking passage. Then at least we could frame the issue for the American people. We need a new approach and I have some ideas.”
Some of those insights, Cuomo continued, will be shared through a weekly podcast he will host.
“This forum will be different. My intention is to tell the whole truth, unvarnished, inside out, frank and honest”, he said. “As someone who’s been in the room many times over the years and knows these people and knows their games, and as someone who’s really done the work.”
Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi told CNN that the new PAC and gun group would operate “separately.” When asked if the PAC plans to spend before the November mandate, Azzopardi backtracked and said they would provide “more information in the coming days.” Cuomo left office with nearly $20 million in campaign funds; the total, earlier this year, was closer to $16 million.
During the video, Cuomo reiterated a grievance with the political environment, which he believes unfairly made his position untenable and forced him out of the governorship.
“The rhetoric of the extreme minority dominates the conversation: take this down, condemn it, suspend that, block it and do it now, right now,” Cuomo said.
The former governor also discussed the challenges facing the American public right now, citing concerns that have dominated his ongoing campaign.
“People are very nervous. They are worried,” he said. “Inflation through the roof, gas prices go up. The stock market goes down. Crime and homelessness are worse than ever in many cities.’
Cuomo also mentioned Puerto Rico, Ukraine, China and North Korea.
He did not, in his statement, refer to the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade or the debate over repealing abortion rights, which has emerged as a hot topic in high-stakes contests across the country.