At least one person still supports Gov. Andrew Cuomo — his younger brother Chris.
The CNN host has been chatting with the embattled governor as he tries to salvage his political career following a bombshell report that detailed the numerous sexual harassment allegations made against him by staffers, according to The Washington Post.
Chris was suspiciously absent from his program “Cuomo Prime Time” on Monday. He claimed to have a planned vacation for his 51st birthday.
The younger Cuomo did not mention the report by state Attorney General Letitia James on CNN last week, despite handing the coverage to Don Lemon, who dove into the scandal.
Substitute host Michael Smerconish did not broach the topic when he sat in for Cuomo on Friday night, and Cuomo’s normal block Monday was given over to a documentary about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).
In the report, which concluded that Cuomo had harassed 11 women — including nine current or former state employees — in violation of state and federal law, Chris Cuomo was described as part of a group of outsiders who were “given privileged and confidential information “and helped make decisions that impacted State business and employees—all without any formal role, duty, or obligation to the State.”
The AG’s report also included a statement apparently drafted or edited by Chris Cuomo for his older brother.
In March, Chris Cuomo told CNN’s viewers that he could not cover the initial allegations of sexual harassment against the governor, “because he is my brother.” When The Washington Post reported in May that the anchor was advising the governor on how to respond to the harassment allegations, Chris Cuomo told his audience that “I can be objective about just about any topic, but not about my family … I am fiercely loyal to them. I’m family first, job second.”
In the same soliloquy, the younger Cuomo said: “When my brother’s situation became turbulent, being looped into calls with other friends of his, and advisers that did include some of his staff, I understand why that was a problem for CNN. It will not happen again.”
On Sunday, CNN “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter told viewers Chris Cuomo had been given two instructions by his bosses: “One, that he can’t talk about his brother, Andrew Cuomo, on TV, and, two, that he cannot participate in any more strategy sessions with the governor’s aides.”
“I think Chris should be asked about all this,” Stelter added. “He should be grilled like anyone else. That’s what numerous staffers at CNN said to me this week. The logic on the part of management is that whatever Chris says about the allegations against his brother will be picked apart. He will be accused of either using his platform to spin for his family or he’ll be accused of betraying his brother.
“The logic is that he should just stay out of it,” Stelter said. “He should do the job that the viewers want him to do.”
On Sunday, Andrew Cuomo’s longtime right-hand woman, Melissa DeRosa, resigned after the report revealed she had sought to dismiss and discredit the governor’s accusers. Among other revelations, DeRosa admitted she had decided to release the personnel file of Lindsey Boylan — a Cuomo accuser and former aide — to certain media outlets in December after she consulted with other staffers.
The report also found that DeRosa helped circulate a proposed op-ed, originally drafted by Cuomo, that contained “personal and professional attacks” on Boylan, and later shared it with current and former Executive Chamber employees.
The Washington Post report Monday identified two other members of Cuomo’s shrinking inner circle as communications director Rich Azzopardi and lobbyist Charlie King, a longtime confidant.
A rep for CNN did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Post.