Gillibrand: Cuomo allegations ‘completely unacceptable’
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who spearheaded the effort to oust former Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) from the Senate over sexual misconduct claims, on Tuesday called sexual harassment allegations against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) “completely unacceptable.”
Gillibrand stopped short of calling on Cuomo to resign but said “every allegation of sexual harassment must be taken seriously and be reviewed.”
“The women who have come forward have shown tremendous courage and must be treated with respect and dignity,” she said. “The behavior described in these allegations against Governor Cuomo is completely unacceptable.”
Gillibrand noted that she has called on New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) to investigate the allegations and use her subpoena power to get to the bottom of conflicting accounts of Cuomo’s conduct.
“I’m confident that it will be comprehensive and will cover all allegations against the governor in order to get the answers we need,” she said.
Gillibrand issued her statement after Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) called the allegations against Cuomo “very troubling.”
Schumer also said he called for and supports James’s investigation.
“The allegations that have been made by Ms. Ruch and Ms. Boylan and Ms. Bennett are serious, very troubling. These women have to be listened to,” he said of Cuomo’s accusers.
“I’ve always believed that sexual harassment is not acceptable, must not be tolerated,” he said. “Now there’s an investigation in the hands of a very, very capable person, the attorney general of New York state. I supported and called for it,” he said.
“I know the attorney general will conduct a thorough investigation that will be totally, totally independent, without any outside interference political or otherwise,” he added.
Cuomo has denied acting improperly.
He said he “never made advances toward” a 25-year-old former aide, Charlotte Bennett, who said the governor asked her about her personal life and romantic relationships.
Cuomo said he thought he was acting as a mentor.
Bennett’s allegation followed a claim by another former aide, Lindsey Boylan, who said Cuomo kissed her on the lips after a briefing in his office in 2018.
Cuomo has denied it.
Anna Ruch, a 33-year-old former member of the Obama administration, said Monday that Cuomo tried to kiss her at a wedding reception in New York City in 2019 and put his hand on her lower back.
Cuomo on Sunday released a statement conceding that some of his actions had “been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation,” adding, “To the extend anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that.”
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