Normally, we’re the first ones clamoring for public officials to speak on topics of interest to the public.
But in the interest of preserving the integrity of the various investigations into Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s conduct, it might be best for all if everyone on all sides would just shut up for a while.
You’re not helping with your online comments, your nasty retorts and your speculation. And you may be undercutting the impact of the investigations and, along with it, the public’s trust in the whole process.
About two weeks ago, Gov. Cuomo’s spokesman Rich Azzopardi tweeted a response to an article quoting a transportation union president’s decision to no longer support the governor. Azzopardi tweeted that the union president is a “political supporter of (state Attorney General) Tish James” and said she has aspirations to be governor.
Linking the union president’s comments to James, and then implying she has political motivations at a time when James is investigating sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo, is clearly a preemptive strike by the governor’s office to undermine the integrity of her investigation and taint public perception of it.
That tweet prompted a response from Charles Lavine, chairman of the Assembly Judiciary Committee overseeing the impeachment investigation into Cuomo.
He accused Azzopardi of trying to intimidate witnesses and said his comments could come with “severe repercussions,” implying some kind of retaliation was coming.
That letter prompted Cuomo lawyer Paul Fishman to deny the alleged intent of Azzopardi’s comments and to accuse Lavine of trying to deny the spokesman of his right to free speech. Lavine’s threat and Fishman’s indignant defense serve no purpose other than to make the public question the integrity and intent of both sides.
Then on Friday, in a separate matter, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie offered his views on the investigations, urging patience, but also saying that he didn’t believe James’s investigation would necessarily trigger an impeachment vote on its own in the chamber he controls without the work of the Judiciary Committee.
That prompted some, including the lawyer for one of Cuomo’s sexual harassment accusers, to say the statement shows Heastie clearly intends to obstruct the investigation, even if James’s investigation reveals substantial evidence of guilt.
Whether he meant it that way or not, Heastie’s statement certainly could give the impression that he was trying to downplay the impact of the attorney general’s investigation in order to undermine it in advance.
We urge everyone to stop making comments until they have something to comment on. Let the investigations move forward, and only comment on actual facts and conclusions when the reports are released.
To keep commenting and responding before the reports are issued will only undermine public trust in the investigations and politicize the outcomes.
The public deserves better than that.