New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, once a darling of the Democratic Party, has been thrown completely under the bus. Though silent at first, leading Democrats are finally starting to speak up regarding the sexual harassment allegations filed by two former employees.
“[The] detailed accounts of sexual harassment by Gov. Cuomo are extremely serious and painful to read,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).
“The women who have come forward with serious and credible charges against Governor Cuomo deserve to be heard and to be treated with dignity,” added House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). She has called for an independent investigation into the governor’s conduct.
Pesident Joe Biden, as well as Democratic lawmakers Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Rep. Mondaire Jones, and Rep. Nydia Velazquez, support calls for an investigation.
“For too long, women have been belittled into shame and silence by powerful men,” tweeted Velazquez. “If we don’t move the needle, we are subjecting another generation of women to the same abuse.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) will select the individual leading the investigation. She is currently investigating claims that Cuomo’s aides intentionally manipulated data regarding COVID deaths in nursing homes.
Two former employees have accused Governor Cuomo of sexual harassment: Lindsey Boylan and Charlotte Bennett.
Boylan, a former aide now running for Manhattan borough president, claims Cuomo kissed her on the mouth without consent and suggested the two of them “play strip poker.” Charlotte Bennett, a former staffer, says the governor asked inappropriate questions about her sex life and also made it clear that he wanted to sleep with her.
Cuomo denied the allegations, saying that he “sometimes thinks he is being playful and makes jokes he thinks are funny.” He also said that he “never propositioned anybody” and “never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) mocked Cuomo’s apology, saying, “Sexual harassment is not funny. Who the hell tries to explain sexual harassment by saying he was just joking around?”
In fact, De Blasio and others have called on Cuomo to resign if the allegations turn out to be true – prompting a flurry of discussion regarding the 2022 gubernatorial election.
New York Governor Cuomo has long hinted that he would seek a fourth term, but it is unclear if he will do so considering the circumstances. According to the latest polls, his approval rating has plummeted to 49% (down from 71% last spring).
Potential candidates for the election include: Duchess County Executive Marc Molinaro (R), state Reps. Tom Reed (R), Lee Zeldin (R), and Elise Stefanik (R), New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), state Senator Alessandra Biaggi (D), and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams (D).