The left has done a bang-up job of cornering the market on righteous indignation, better than any other political party in recent history. Perhaps no one is more exemplary in this behavior than New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who portrays himself as one very woke individual. Now there is reason to doubt his imperious attitude as a former staffer levels sexual harassment charges against him.
Smoke and Mirrors
Whether the allegations by former Deputy Secretary for Economic Development Lindsey Boylan are true or not remains to be seen. However, questions abound: Is the governor all smoke and mirrors, playing the role of a poseur and getting a little forced nookie on the side?
Cuomo flatly denied the sexual harassment allegations during an Albany news conference on Monday, Dec. 14. The governor’s answer unsurprisingly began with a need to signal his virtue: “Look, I fought for, and I believe a woman has the right to come forward and express her opinion and express issues and concerns that she has. But it’s just not true.”
What appeared to set off the public accusation was a report that Joe Biden had been considering the New York governor for attorney general. The thought of Cuomo as the nation’s Department of Justice head roiled Boylan. “There are fewer things more scary than giving this man, who exists without ethics, even more control,” she railed on Twitter. “I saw how he wielded power for years. He takes advantage of people, including me. I hope @JoeBiden& @KamalaHarris don’t do this.”
Once the cat was out of the bag, Boylan went on a Twitter bender:
“Yes, @NYGovCuomo sexually harassed me for years. Many saw it, and watched. I could never anticipate what to expect: would I be grilled on my work (which was very good) or harassed about my looks. Or would it be both in the same conversation? This was the way for years.”
As well as:
“Not knowing what to expect what’s the most upsetting part aside from knowing that no one would do a damn thing even when they saw it. No one. And I *know* I am not the only woman.”
Boylan also used the phrases “beyond toxic” and “endlessly dispiriting” in describing the period she worked for the governor. Meanwhile, since the #MeToo movement hit the national spotlight, Cuomo has been at the forefront of anti-sexual harassment measures – signing numerous pieces of legislation aimed at discouraging the very type of behavior of which Boylan has accused him.
The on-camera denial by Cuomo was certainly an awkward moment. The governor appeared pale and wide-eyed, and the viewer was unable to determine if he was frightened by Boylan’s allegations or anxious that something untoward had been made public. Even The New York Times admitted that “[t]he governor’s approach to the issue has also sometimes seemed awkward.” The article went on to describe “a testy exchange” Cuomo had with an Albany reporter “after she asked a question about his response to sexual harassment in state government.”
Thus far, Boylan has refused to elaborate on the alleged sexual harassment or answer questions from news organizations seeking to interview her. Since leaving the governor’s employ, Cuomo’s former special adviser ran an unsuccessful campaign to unseat Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and has put her hat in the ring for Manhattan borough president. Such as it is, the public is left to wonder whether Boylan’s claims are merely smoke and mirrors or whether where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
Read more from Leesa K. Donner.