New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul on Friday faced a slew of tough questions about the growing number of scandals surrounding Governor Andrew Cuomo at an event marking the reopening of the iconic amusement parks in Coney Island, Brooklyn, after they were shuttered by the pandemic.
It was a relatively rare appearance in New York City for the state’s second highest-ranking elected official, who travels frequently in other regions of the state. While she tried to keep her message focused on supporting local businesses as they struggle to recover from the pandemic, Hochul eventually acknowledged the allegations against Cuomo, who is facing scrutiny for sexual misconduct, the mishandling of nursing home death data, and the potential misuse of state resources for his book American Crisis.
“I will tell you there are investigations at this time,” Hochul said.
Cuomo is currently facing multiple investigations including by the State Attorney General’s office and the Assembly Judiciary Committee, which could result in impeachment.
As part of the formal event, Hochul bounded onto a stage set up on the Coney Island boardwalk, noting she set her alarm for 3:40 a.m. just to make sure she would arrive on time for the ceremonial ribbon cutting and centennial celebration of the Wonder Wheel. She flew in that morning from her home in Buffalo, according to her staff.
Stressing the need to support small businesses and thank healthcare workers, Hochul closed her speech asking what people will say 100 years from now about how New Yorkers responded to this moment, and how they changed the world.
“It’s all up to us,” she said. “Let the games, let the fun begin my friends.”
Hochul then headed into the amusement park, ignoring questions shouted by reporters. Flanked by staff and security, she ultimately stopped in front of a Nathan’s Hot Dog truck and turned to offer a brief statement about Cuomo.
“I’m here to show to the world that New York City is back,” she said. “We are here at Coney Island but there are a lot of answers that will be resolved in the impending months with the number of investigations underway so I’m going to leave it at that,” she added.
Hochul did not comment on why Cuomo was not at the opening, when she last spoke to him about the accusations he’s facing, whether she thought there was a toxic workplace for women in Albany, what her response was to the women who said they been sexual harassed by him, if she thought the governor should be impeached, and whether she was prepared to lead the state if he was.
She’s issued two statements in the past supporting the investigations and stressing that, “everyone’s voice will be heard and taken seriously.”
Hochul would become the acting governor should Cuomo be impeached by the Assembly and face trial.