Is Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) making matters worse for himself? First, the Emmy award winner tried to shift the blame on COVID nursing home deaths; then an ex-aide, Lindsey Boylan, accused him of sexual harassment. Yet after both accusations, Cuomo still hasn’t apologized without pointing the finger at others for his misdeeds.
In a statement responding to Boylan’s allegations, the governor wrote:
“At work sometimes I think I am being playful and make jokes that I think are funny. I do, on occasion, tease people in what I think is a good natured way. I do it in public and in private. You have seen me do it at briefings hundreds of times. I have teased people about their personal lives, their relationships, about getting married or not getting married. I mean no offense and only attempt to add some levity and banter to what is a very serious business.”
Cuomo’s apology continued: “I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation.” Boylan accused the governor of going “out of his way to touch me on my lower back, arms and legs,” kissing her while they were alone in his office, and even suggesting during a plane ride that they “play strip poker.” The governor skirted the accusations, saying in the statement:
“To be clear I never inappropriately touched anybody and I never propositioned anybody and I never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but these are allegations that New Yorkers deserve answers to.”
Over the weekend, another staffer came forward with more allegations against Cuomo. Charlotte Bennett, 25, claimed the 63-year-old governor talked about his willingness to have relationships with younger women, specifically women in their 20s. The former executive assistant said she’d reported the problem to Jill DesRosiers, Cuomo’s chief of staff, and was “quickly transferred to another job, in an office on the opposite side of the Capitol from the governor,” reported The New York Times. No disciplinary action was taken against Cuomo, she said.
“These are not the actions of someone who simply feels misunderstood,” Bennett asserted, “they are the actions of an individual who wields his power to avoid justice.”
A third accuser also came forward, Anna Ruch, who claims that at a New York wedding reception, the governor attempted to kiss her. She says that her accusation is corroborated by contemporaneous text messages.
The Left Is Slow to Respond
Unlike the accusations thrown at then-Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the distaff left side of the aisle has not been quick to respond. Two-time presidential candidate Hillary Clinton did throw out a statement: “These stories are difficult to read, and the allegations brought forth raise serious questions that the women who have come forward and all New Yorkers deserve answers to.”
New York City Mayor and fellow Democrat Bill de Blasio spoke during a meeting, condemning the governor, saying Cuomo didn’t issue an apology; it seemed more like he was attempting to let “himself off the hook.” De Blasio continued:
“He seemed to be saying, ‘Aw, I was just kidding around.’ Sexual harassment isn’t funny. It’s serious and it has to be taken seriously.”
“If someone purposely tried to use their power to force a woman to have sex with them? Of course, that’s someone who should no longer be in public service.”
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) finally chimed in: “The women who have come forward with serious and credible charges against Gov. Cuomo deserve to be heard and to be treated with dignity. The independent investigation must have due process and respect for everyone involved.”
Vice President Kamala Harris has been notably absent from making any kind of response to the allegations, at least at the time of this writing. During the Kavanaugh hearing, Harris said, “Republicans are playing politics with the Supreme Court, and they are willing to step on anyone – including the victim of a vicious sexual assault – in order to advance their agenda.” Yet not a word regarding the alleged offenses of Cuomo. The VP also stated, while campaigning for the Oval Office, that she believed the alleged victims of Joe Biden’s unwanted advances. For all of her proclamations to be on the side of the victims, it is odd that Harris has not uttered a peep in support of the women accusing Cuomo.
Read more from Kelli Ballard.