New Yorkers have yet another reason to feel betrayed by their governor, Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo is set to receive a galling amount of money — $5.1 million — for a book he wrote touting his leadership during the global pandemic.
“American Crisis: Leadership Lessons From the COVID-19 Pandemic” was published in October of 2020. He made a staggering $3.12 million last year — $1,537,508 after taxes — and is set to be paid another $2 million over the next two. He’s donated $500,000 of the publishing proceeds to charity.
The book was a formidable disaster of an idea right from the beginning.
For one, you’ll recall it was written while the pandemic was ongoing. Despite Cuomo’s “mission accomplished” victory lap, the virus was still ravaging his state.
Over the course of 2020, Cuomo was constantly promoting his own leadership in “conquering COVID,” and prematurely.
As he was writing the book on a virus that had yet to do its worst, he also pimped out a bizarre commemorative poster in July called “New York Tough.” It depicted the pandemic as a mountain, and his preternatural leadership as guiding New Yorkers over it. “We went up the mountain, we curved the mountain, we came down the other side,” he wrote.
Likewise, the book was positioned as a success story — Cuomo’s, that is. Per the publisher: “Governor Andrew Cuomo tells the riveting story of how he took charge in the fight against COVID-19 as New York became the epidemic of the pandemic, offering hard-won lessons in leadership and his vision for the path forward.”
But Cuomo and Crown, a division of Penguin Random House, were living in an alternate universe, one of Cuomo’s narcissistic imagination. When the book was published in October, New York had yet to see its biggest spike since the spring of 2020, hitting 5,906 new cases in the state in a single day in November, pushing total cases beyond 600,000.
It gets worse. Just as Cuomo began to write the ill-advised book, attempting to profit and promote himself while hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers suffered, his most senior aides were rewriting a state Health Department report on nursing home deaths, hiding the actual number of fatalities.
Cuomo denies changing the numbers, and his handling of those figures is currently the subject of a federal investigation and a state assembly impeachment investigation.
Adding insult to considerable injury, some of the very aides at the center of that scandal reportedly worked on the writing and promotion of Cuomo’s book — a fact which also caught the eye of the attorney general, who has opened up an investigation into the governor’s use of state resources to pen the vanity project.
So, while his office was covering up nursing home deaths to protect Cuomo’s legacy, it was also directing resources to help cement Cuomo’s legacy. All at the taxpayers’ expense.
Incidentally, the puff piece was also a total rip-off, as it turns out. Despite the lucrative payoff for Cuomo, “American Crisis” sold just around 50,000 hardcovers. Crown, its publisher, decided not to release a paperback edition when Cuomo’s nursing home scandal exploded, which left Crown holding the bag on huge losses.
It appears “American Crisis” was a loser for everyone — its publisher, New Yorkers, victims of Cuomo’s multiple ongoing scandals — everyone except Cuomo, who will personally profit off the self-congratulatory propaganda.
Meanwhile, just as his belief in himself remains untested and unrivaled, so does his disbelief in the outcome of the investigations against him.
He’s repeatedly dismissed the investigations as political witch hunts concocted by Donald Trump and other perceived enemies. He’s smeared the investigator, New York Attorney General Letitia James, as a woman who’s just after his job.
He’s suggested New Yorkers can’t even trust the results of this or the sexual misconduct investigation results, telling the press, “I’m not telling anyone to have faith in anything. Everyone makes their own decisions.”
And he’s stated clearly, over and over again, that he has no intentions of resigning, regardless of what is uncovered.
“I did nothing wrong, period. I’m not resigning and I’m doing my job every day.”
But what job was he doing when he wrote “American Crisis,” exploiting the pain and suffering of millions of New Yorkers so that he could soothe his own ego and turn a quick profit?
Not the people’s work. So, Cuomo’s galling message to New Yorkers is, essentially: Buy the book that’s based on self-interest and puffery. Ignore the independent investigation that’s full of facts and accountability.
S.E. Cupp is the host of “S.E. Cupp Unfiltered” on CNN.
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