ALBANY – When Andrew Cuomo in late 2010 was preparing to take office as governor, one of the questions swirling about Albany at the time was this: When will he try to take out Sheldon Silver as Assembly speaker?
The theory, of course, was that Silver and Cuomo did not get along and would never get along.
But in the past week, Cuomo has been the state’s top government official to beat back calls that Silver should resign following revelations of how he secretly handled sexual harassment accusations brought by female employees of now-former Assemblyman Vito Lopez.
"People say the speaker should resign. … I said, I don’t," Cuomo told reporters today. Cuomo repeated what Silver himself has said, which is that the Assembly leader made mistakes in how he handled the Lopez episode last year. And Cuomo said, again, how governors do not have a direct say in Assembly leadership decisions.
"The Assembly will decide who is the leader of the Assembly. They vote. I don’t vote," Cuomo said.
Cuomo's defense of Silver shows how the relationship between the two men has evolved over the years. Moreover, it shows a basic understanding by Cuomo that a leadership battle at this point in the waning weeks of the 2013 legislative session could result in a political bloodbath in the Assembly. Such a battle would all but halt work on any number of initiatives Cuomo is trying to resolve before the June 20 scheduled session end date.