ALBANY, N.Y.—Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday it isn’t up to him to tell scandalized mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner to exit what he calls a political comedy.
“This is summer political theater in New York,” Cuomo said Monday, continuing to refuse to substantively comment on Weiner’s race. “We laugh because if we didn’t laugh, we would cry, right?”
Weiner has attracted national headlines, dominated tabloid covers, and has been frequent fodder for late-night TV monologues. He held an awkward news conference pledging to stay in the New York City mayor’s race last week just after the disclosure he exchanged more lewd text messages with another woman — the same kind of scandal that cost him his congressional seat. His wife has stood by him, but his campaign manager has quit.
“People run, that’s the way our system works,” said Cuomo, who controls the state Democratic committee. “Anybody can run. That’s the system. I’m not going to say who should run and shouldn’t run because that’s the system.
“Who wins, however, is different and that’s where electorate comes in,” Cuomo said. “We are only in the opening act of this play.”
Cuomo is taking some Republican heat for his position after he has taken a stand more recently on other cases.
In May, he called for Assemblyman Vito Lopez, a Brooklyn Democrat, to resign over unproven allegations of sexual harassment which Lopez denies. Lopez has since faced state ethics charges, but no criminal charges.
Cuomo, however, wouldn’t call for powerful Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to step down for the role Silver admitted in a secret $103,000 settlement using public money to end the first batch of accusations against Lopez. Cuomo said the speaker’s position is a decision for Democratic Assembly members to make.
“It shouldn’t be so difficult for the governor to say Weiner doesn’t belong in public office,” said Republican Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor of Fishkill. “But, it’s not a surprise because the governor couldn’t even bring himself to say Sheldon Silver should resign after repeatedly covering up sexual harassment and abuse.”