A year ago, at the outbreak of the pandemic, Democrat Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York, was a constant presence, and not just in his state. His daily press conferences, with figures and seriousness, contrasted with the little attention to the crisis of the then president, Donald Trump. In addition, the 63-year-old Democrat broke the most tense moments with jokes and family anecdotes. His work during this time of national crisis caused some media to nickname him “the governor of the United States” and some comedians to declare themselves “Cuomosexual” to express their admiration.
Now no one would refer to the politician that way. In less than a week the governor has been accused of sexual harassment by two of his former aides, Lindsey Boylan, 36, and Charlotte Bennett, 25.RELATED
Boylan published his story on the portal Medium in late February and said that when she was a state economic development official, Cuomo harassed her on several occasions between 2016 and 2018. The 30-year-old highlighted two moments, one in her Manhattan office, when the governor kissed her on the lips , and another when the politician asked him to play strip poker on an official plane. “Governor Andrew Cuomo has created a culture within his government in which sexual harassment and bullying are so pervasive that it is not only tolerated, it is expected,” Boylan said in his post.
This weekend Bennett, who was his executive assistant and health policy advisor until last November, joined the accusations and assured the New York Times that the governor asked him if he was monogamous and if he had ever had relationships with older men. In addition, the young woman assured that the politician told her that he was open to having relationships with twenty-somethings.
“I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me and I felt terribly uncomfortable and scared. I was wondering how I was going to get out of this situation. I assumed it was the end of my job,” says Bennett, who says that this happened at the height of his popularity. , that is, at the end of last spring.
At first, Cuomo denied the allegations and claimed that he believed he was acting as a mentor. However, this Sunday, the Democrat chose to send another statement in which he apologized for “inappropriate comments.”
“At work sometimes I think I’m playing games and I make jokes that I think are funny,” Cuomo said. “Now I understand that my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal and that some of my comments, given my position, made others feel in a way that I never intended.” “I acknowledge that some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as unwanted flirting. To the extent that someone felt that way, I am truly sorry,” he added.
New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez describes in a tweet the accounts of the officials as “painful to read” and demands that there be an “independent investigation, not led by a person selected by the governor, but by the attorney general’s office.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also demanded independent investigations into both the sexual harassment allegations and the handling of the pandemic in nursing homes.
“The state legislature must immediately revoke the governor’s emergency powers. In addition, two fully independent investigations into the nursing home deaths and the disturbing allegations of personal misconduct must be conducted immediately,” the mayor said in a statement. he has repeatedly disagreed with the state governor.
Cuomo was already in the middle of the eye of the hurricane this year as one of his assistants, Melissa DeRosa, admitted to Democratic lawmakers that the state delayed the release of data on deaths from COVID-19 in nursing homes and justified the delay with the fear that the Trump administration could use those numbers “against him.”
Meanwhile, the governor who received a Emmy Award for “Master Mastery“From the information during the first wave of the pandemic and wrote a book on his leadership in the management, he had to accept that the death toll was double the official one, that is, some 15,000 people died compared to the 8,500 declared.
Last May, Cuomo approved a measure for nursing homes to accept COVID-19 patients from hospitals. And he argued, until the last minute, that this policy did not increase the number of deaths in nursing homes. The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York and the FBI have opened a preliminary investigation.
Once Pandora’s box was opened against Cuomo, several Democrats and Republicans have come to the fore to criticize the governor’s temperament. For example, the representative for the borough of Queens Ron Kim, who accused Cuomo of threatening by phone with ruining his reputation after signing a letter with other Democratic legislators criticizing the governor for not being clear when publishing data on deaths in residences and “willful obstruction”.
“Governor Cuomo called me directly Thursday to threaten my career if I didn’t cover up for Melissa [DeRosa] and what he said. He tried to pressure me to make a statement, and it was a very traumatic experience, “Kim told the CNN.