New York Governor in Hot Water

Pilar Briggs

Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo (D), received praises and popularity in 2020, due to his diligent response to Covid-19 and criticism of then-President, Donald Trump (R). Cuomo doing great work for his state led to people across the nation wanting him to run for President for the 2024 run, and he humbly objected to the idea. However, I think it is time for Cuomo to turn in his key to the Governor’s office.

According to women’s magazine, thecut.com, on December 13th, 2020, a woman by the name of Lindsey Boylan, a former executive vice-president of Empire State Development and Special adviser in the Cuomo administration, accused Cuomo of sexual harassment. The alleged harassment also includes him touching “the lower back, arms, and legs…”. She took to Twitter to make the allegations by saying, “Yes, @NYGovCuomo sexually harassed me for years. Many saw it, and watched… I could never anticipate what to expect: would I be grilled on my work (which was very good) or harassed about my looks. Or would it be both in the same conversation? This was the way for years.” After hearing of these allegations, Cuomo denied them stating, “I fought for, and I believe, a woman has the right to come forward and express her opinion, and express issues and concerns that she has, but it’s just not true.”

(Video) Watch Good Morning America discuss Cuomo’s allegations:

On February 27th, 2021, one of Cuomo’s former executive assistants, Charlotte Bennett, 25, accused him of sexual harassment, during her time of working with him in 2019, in an interview with the NewYorkTimes.com. According to Bennett, she “got along very well” with Cuomo, at first, but that did not stick for long. She claims that Cuomo became obsessed with her being a sexual assault survivor. She also claims that on June 5th, it took a turn for the worst, when Cuomo “held her back in his office” to question her about her personal life. He asked if she “believed if age made a difference in relationships” and if she “has ever been with an older man.” Allegedly, he also confided in her by saying that he “felt lonely” and wanted a “girlfriend, preferably in the Albany area,” due to his recent breakup.  Bennett said that texts between her and Cuomo showed that “age doesn’t matter” to him as long as the woman was “above the age of 22.” Bennett felt “horribly uncomfortable and scared.” She complained to the chief of staff, Jill DesRosiers, and claimed she was then transferred to a different department to separate her from Cuomo. Bennet eventually resigned in November 2020.

On February 28th, Cuomo denied the allegations, but gave an apology, “I never intended to offend anyone or cause any har.” He then goes on to admit that “at work sometimes I think that I am being playful and make jokes that I think are funny.” “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.” He then doubled back to refute the claims, “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.”

CNBC’s news coverage of Bennett and Boylan’s allegations.

My opinions on his statement are: 1) He seemed to have understood that his actions have caused trauma. 2) He refused to take full accountability for his actions. Whether he meant to take offense or not, HE STILL DID! Here’s an analogy to help illustrate my thought: If a person were to step on your brand new Jordans and he/she says, “My bad! It was by accident,” you would still be physically in pain from him/her hitting your toe, and you would be emotionally hurt, because he/she messed up your shoe. Sorry or not, that person should have watched his/her step. He/she can walk away without a scratch, but YOU will be the one that has to deal with it.

On March 1st, a woman named Anna Ruch claimed that Cuomo attempted to kiss her without consent. The alleged incident happened at a wedding in September 2019. Ruch met Cuomo for the first time after he gave a toast at the reception. She alleges that he touched her “bare lower back”, “I promptly removed his hand with my hand, which I would have thought was clear enough indicator that I was not wanting him to touch me.” She goes on to say that he called her “aggressive” and moved his hands to her “cheeks.” She claimed that he asked if he could kiss her. She motioned to miss his lips as he made his move to kiss her. Ruth said that this incident was recorded on her friend’s camera, where the snapshot showed him putting his hands on both cheeks.

Cuomo cupping Ruth’s cheeks at alleged wedding reception.

On March 3rd, Cuomo responded to the picture of him and Ruch by saying, “You can find hundreds of pictures of me making the same gesture with hundreds of people.” “Women, men, children, etc… It is my usual and customary way of greeting.” But to smooth things over, he added, “However, what I also understand is it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter my intent. What matters is if anybody was offended by it, and I could intend no offense, but if they were offended by it, then I was wrong. And if they were offended by it, I apologize.” Again, Cuomo acknowledged that his intent does not matter, which I appreciate. But, he literally talked in circles. This, to me, sounds like guilt. He felt like he did wrong, but didn’t want to completely admit it. This apology was like a pacifier for the alleged victims.   

On March 6th, news about multiple former aides of Cuomo was released by the WashingtonPost.com. One of the former aides claimed that Cuomo called her “honey” or “sweetheart” in lieu. Another former aide said that she had the feeling that “you were expected to look and behave in a certain way, be playful in a certain way” and to be an “eye candy”. Two former male aides alleged that he would insult them with words that would involve genitals, “pussies” and “you have no balls.”

As the month went on, more accusations and denials were made.

Public reaction from across the country has been mixed: “He’s innocent.”, which I disagree with, “Let’s wait for the facts to come out.”, “This is Donald Trump making people lie!”, which I also disagree with, and “He needs to be removed from office.”

Cuomo in support of Trump-appointed, Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual assault accuser.

In conclusion, I believe that Cuomo should resign, because he has incriminated himself in his “apologies”. I am no Donald Trump fan, but look at how plenty of us screamed for him to not become President after viewing his “grab her by the pu**y” tape. We must be fair, no matter how much we like his policies or think that he is “cool” or “down for the people.” Why do we always believe that our beloved public figures can do no wrong, but when it’s a figure that we dislike, it’s an automatic, “lock him up!”?

Categories: Editorial, Opinion, politics

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