Clinton: Allegations against Cuomo ‘raise serious questions,’ deserve probe
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday signaled support for a thorough investigation into allegations of sexual harassment brought against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) by two former aides.
“These stories are difficult to read, and the allegations brought forth raise serious questions that the women who have come forward and all New Yorkers deserve answers to,” Clinton, who served as a New York senator before her 2008 presidential run, said in a statement obtained by Fox News.
“I’m glad to see that there will be a full, independent, and thorough investigation,” she added.
Clinton joins a number of prominent Democrats who have backed calls for a formal investigation into the allegations made by former Cuomo aides Lindsey Boylan and Charlotte Bennett, who both accused the governor of unwanted sexual advances during their employment by the state.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said on Twitter over the weekend that the “detailed accounts of sexual harassment” by both aides “are extremely serious and painful to read.”
“There must be an independent investigation – not one led by an individual selected by the Governor, but by the office of the Attorney General,” said Ocasio-Cortez, who opened up last month about her own experience as a survivor of sexual assault.
In a statement on Sunday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) also called for an investigation into the alleged sexual misconduct to “be led by someone fully independent of the governor” and said the allegations were “disturbing.”
De Blasio said at a press briefing on Monday that if the allegations are corroborated then Cuomo should step down.
“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,” he said.
The mayor, who has been vocal in his criticism of Cuomo in the past, also knocked remarks the governor made on Sunday acknowledging how some of his interactions with women “may have been insensitive.”
“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,” Cuomo said on Sunday.
However, Cuomo denied inappropriately touching “anybody” at the time, saying, “I never propositioned anybody and I never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but these are allegations that New Yorkers deserve answers to.”
De Blasio said the governor’s comments were 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. “And he just clearly was letting himself off the hook for something that, for the women involved, sounded pretty terrifying.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) said on Sunday that she will launch an inquiry into the allegations. She also said her office is hiring a firm to oversee the probe.
Cuomo’s office said the governor will cooperate with an independent probe into the allegations.
“The Governor’s office wants a thorough and independent review that is above reproach and beyond political interference. Therefore the Governor’s office has asked Attorney General Tish James to select a qualified private lawyer to do an independent review of allegations of sexual harassment,” Cuomo’s office said on Sunday. “The Governor’s office will voluntarily cooperate fully.”