Top Democrats are distancing forcefully distancing themselves from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Monday after a second sexual harassment allegation emerged, and some federal legislators are calling for Cuomo to face impeachment.
Despite Cuomo’s issues with an order that sent patients recovering from COVID-19 into nursing homes and other adult care facilities, regardless of whether they were still positive for the virus, the focus has largely shifted to the governor’s personal behavior and a series of allegations from former aides suggesting that Cuomo behaved inappropriately with female employees.
“Lindsey Boylan, a candidate for Manhattan borough president who formerly worked for Cuomo and the state’s economic development agency, revealed in a blog post on Wednesday that the governor had kissed her without her consent and asked her to play strip poker,” Politico reported over the weekend. “Then, on Saturday, The New York Times reported that Charlotte Bennett, a former executive assistant and health policy adviser to Cuomo, was also sexually harassed by the governor, including inappropriate questions about her sex life.”
As The Daily Wire reported Monday, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-NY), one of the highest-ranking Democrats in government, called the allegations against Cuomo “credible” and echoed the White House in calling for an independent investigation into the claims.
“The women who have come forward with serious and credible charges against Governor Cuomo deserve to be heard and to be treated with dignity,” Pelosi said in a statement Sunday afternoon. “The independent investigation must have due process and respect for everyone involved.”
Monday morning, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) — arguably the Democrat with the most significant national presence — told MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan that she believes the governor should face impeachment.
Ocasio-Cortez told Hasan that she believes “the full facts of the situation” need to come out.
New York Congresswoman @AOC reacts to the latest claims made against NY Governor Andrew Cuomo. See why she tells @MehdiRHasan "the full facts of the situation" need to come out: pic.twitter.com/mmpKSsQHdT
— The Mehdi Hasan Show (@MehdiHasanShow) March 1, 2021
Cuomo agreed to an independent investigation into the allegations but initially wanted to appoint the investigator. Later in the weekend, the governor issued a statement on both sexual harassment claims and reportedly agreed to allow an outside official to handle the probe.
Although Cuomo categorically denies sexually harassing the two women, he does note that he “make jokes” that he thinks are funny that could be considered inappropriate for some audiences.
“Questions have been raised about some of my past interactions with people in the office,” Cuomo said in his statement. “I never intended to offend anyone or cause any harm. I spend most of my life at work, and colleagues are often also personal friends. 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 added. “I now understand that my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal and that some of my comments, given my position, made others feel in ways I never intended. I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation. To the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that.”