Due to sexual assault charges, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo extends an apology.
Gov. Cuomo said on Sunday that he may have insulted certain people when he said he may have been insensitive or too personal, and that his words, given his position, caused others to react in ways he never intended.
In light of the sexual assault scandals, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo claimed on Sunday that he could have made insensitive comments in private meetings that may have been misconstrued as an unwelcome flirtation.
Mr. Cuomo, 63, claimed that his remarks — including those which appeared in a New York Times article — were an extension of his time spent at work, where he frequently made jokes about other people's personal lives and relationships.
Mr. Cuomo released a statement in which he said that he now recognized that his messages may have been offensive or personal, and that some of his remarks, considering his status, may have made others feel in ways he never expected. Although some of the things I've said have been taken the wrong way, I want to make it clear that I don't intend to flirt with someone. I'm genuinely sorry for that to the point anyone feels that way.
The governor's response appeared to reflect the seriousness of Ms. Bennett's allegations, as well as the harm they could do to Mr. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat.
Since emerging as a national leader during the pandemic, New York's governor, Andrew Cuomo, has also stressed his calls for an impartial investigation into his actions, which is complicated due to the controversy about who will head the inquiry. His original choice of Letitia James, New York's solicitor general, to lead the investigation attracted significant scrutiny, as did his follow-up proposal that he task Letitia James, New York's state Supreme Court Chief Justice, to collaborate with Janet DiFiore, New York's state attorney general, to jointly appoint someone to lead the investigation. Ms. James denied the bid.
Mr. Cuomo eventually relented, giving subpoena authority to whomever Ms. James named as the outside prosecutor, as Ms. James had asked.
In a series of interviews with The New York Times last week, Ms. Bennett said Mr. Cuomo had inquired about her marital past, including concerns about her sexual habits, including monogamy and intimate affairs with older men. Additionally, she recalled that Mr. Cuomo shared his openness to dating women in their 20s and made her feel awkward discussing her own sexual harassment encounters.
The governor, who also complained of being alone and desiring a girlfriend in Albany, said she thinks he was making unwanted advances toward her.
Ms. Bennett, a 25-year-old student, claimed that “I knew that the governor tried to sleep with me, and I felt terribly awkward and scared.” “But then I started thinking how I was going to extricate myself from the situation, and figured that it was the end of my job.
Cuomo's government was stumbling at the moment, but he tried to justify his earlier remarks, and added, “questions have been asked regarding some of my prior experiences with people in the office.”
Cuomo maintained that he “never sexually touched” or propositioned someone, and he never “intended to hurt someone or cause anybody harm.” Ms. Bennett did not suspect the governor of making physical contact with her.
He clarified that he never wanted to make someone feel awkward.
Despite the governor's arguments, many other Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and democratic stars including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have called for hearings.
Several Democrats and Republicans alike voiced indignation at the accusations, underscoring how tenuous Mr. Cuomo's position in New York politics has been. A number of people demanded an impeachment hearing and some asked for his removal.
News of the damaging press reports went all the way to the White House, where Jen Psaki, President Biden's press secretary, said the president endorses an investigation into accusations that she called “serious.”
It was hard to follow the article, considering that Ms. Psaki said on CNN's “State of the Union” that she found it tough to learn as a feminist.
Mr. Cuomo quickly understood the harm and advised New Yorkers to await the conclusions of the analysis so that they are mindful of the truth before forming their views.
Although the claims of Mr. Cuomo's supposed conduct against women have only intensified his political issues in the past, these more current problems are part of a federal probe into his administration's purposeful undercount of coronavirus-related deaths in nursing homes.
However, the allegations of sexual harassment may have a more serious effect on a governor who takes pride in advancing legislation that protect women in the workplace and who sees the election of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court as a significant defeat for women's rights.
Ken Sherrill, a professor of political science at Hunter College, noted, “There are real concerns regarding his capacity to preserve his power.”
The governor's efforts to monitor the narrative and the direction of the inquiries have ground to a halt, when he was forced to postpone a bid to have Bennett's allegations reviewed by a federal judge who is connected to the governor's former top aide.
While anger about Ms. Bennett's allegations was running high in social media and network television, news accounts of the investigation itself were still in stutter mode, recasting Governor Cuomo — once called a leader in the fight against the coronavirus — as a villain.
In a lengthy speech, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio condemned Governor Cuomo's recent shortcomings, including “detailed, reported reports of sexual assault, repeated cases of bullying, and the acknowledged withholding of information on the deaths of over 15,000 people.”
Indeed, Mr. Cuomo's frank and sometimes brusque stance toward fellow Democrats had left him entirely without defenders on Sunday, when long-time opponents ratcheted up their rhetoric.
The state senator who often challenged the governor is calling for him to resign. She commented on Twitter: “You are a monster, and it is time for you to leave.” Right now.
While many of the Democrat-controlled state legislative chambers called for impartial investigations of the governor, her call for his impeachment was something of an outlier.
A few politicians have encouraged the state legislature to impeach the governor, echoing a banner that plainly read, “Impeach!”
In the other hand, it does not seem possible that this would happen. Historically, the last New York governor to be impeached was William Sulzer, who was suspended from office in 1913, according to N.Y.U. law professor Roderick Hills.
Additionally, in the State Constitution, only a few conditions are specified that are applicable to impeachable behaviour.
According to Hofstra University law professor and former Senate Democratic lawyer Eric Lane, “There's no uniform impeachment standard in New York.” There is a very common law.
A majority of Assembly members could vote to impeach the governor, and in any situation, the State Senate would be responsible for holding the proceedings. The jury will include senators and the judges of the state's supreme court, the Court of Appeals. DiFiore would have had trouble sitting as a prosecutor on that court, as she is the chief judge there.
Rather, the best-case outcome may be that politicians would use this latest spate of controversies to recover the emergency powers they had offered the governor to deal with the pandemic at the outset. As of last week, momentum seemed to have stalled as the State Assembly did not come to an understanding on a resolution by the State Senate to rid Mr. Cuomo of his authority. Now, however, this kind of production might be more likely.
However, Ms. Bennett's testimonial resonated deeply in Albany, which has a sordid history of sexual abuse and corruption.
Mr. Cuomo signed legislation to create a number of workplace new rights in the midst of the #MeToo campaign, saying he wished to "honor all the women" who had experienced pain and embarrassment as a result of abuse.
He noted in 2019 that “We should respect the women who had the courage to come forward and share their story.”
Cuomo claimed in his statement on Sunday that people could not approach Bennett to express disappointment with her coming forward.
The revelations made by Ms. Bennett came a few days after Lindsey Boylan, a former state economic development official, accused Mr. Cuomo of sexually harassing her on several occasions between 2016 and 2018. She reported that the governor had once kissed her on the lips when she was in his Manhattan office without her permission. Mr. Cuomo has dismissed the charges.
Erica Vladimer, one of the co-founders of the Sexual Harassment Working Party, made the following remark about the governor: “Given the pattern of complaints against the governor, he should step down.”
“The accusations are not two different sets,” she explained. “It is two longstanding incidents of bullying, intimidation, retribution, and a toxic work environment.”