De Blasio says Cuomo should resign if allegations are corroborated
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) on Monday said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) should step down if the sexual harassment allegations against him by two former aides are corroborated.
“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,” the mayor said at a press briefing Monday, according to Politico.
He also took a swipe at Cuomo’s Sunday night statement acknowledging “insensitive” behavior but denying inappropriately touching any staff member.
“That’s not an apology. He seemed to be saying, ‘Oh, I was just kidding around.’ Sexual harassment’s not funny. It’s serious, and it has to be taken seriously,” de Blasio said Monday, according to New York Magazine. “And he just clearly was letting himself off the hook for something that, for the women involved, sounded pretty terrifying.”
Cuomo in a statement Sunday evening said, “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.”
“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,” Cuomo added.
Two former aides to Cuomo have come forward with allegations of sexual harassment. Charlotte Bennett and Lindsey Boylan have both accused Cuomo of unwanted advances and of making inappropriate remarks while in the workplace.
Boylan also said that Cuomo kissed her without her consent.
De Blasio called Sunday for Cuomo to face an independent investigation not headed by one of his appointees. The mayor also called for the governor’s emergency authority to be stripped over a separate scandal involving accusations that the state hid or underreported data related to deaths in nursing homes related to COVID-19.
Assemblyman Ron Kim (D), who in recent days has claimed that Cuomo’s office threatened to “destroy” him, added that the governor should resign immediately.
Or … Cuomo can resign tonight. Not tomorrow. Tonight. https://t.co/NKpdrxISIK
— Ron T. Kim (@rontkim) February 28, 2021
The governor granted authority to the state’s attorney general, Letitia James (D), on Monday to conduct an investigation into the allegations of sexual harassment Cuomo faces from the two women. James said in a statement Monday afternoon that the results of that investigation would be released in a public report.
Today, we received a referral letter providing our office the authority to move forward with an independent investigation into allegations of sexual harassment claims made against Governor Cuomo.
At the close of the review, the findings will be disclosed in a public report.
— NY AG James (@NewYorkStateAG) March 1, 2021