‘Hearing Andrew Cuomo Apologize for Anything Is Breathtaking,’ He Knows He’s ‘in Real Trouble’

‘Hearing Andrew Cuomo Apologize for Anything Is Breathtaking,’ He Knows He’s ‘in Real Trouble’


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Janet Ybarra
Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press

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New York Gov Andrew Cuomo’s troubles with sexual harassment allegations against him mount — putting in serious jeopardy a political future that just last year appeared on the rise amid what seemed steady leadership during some of worst of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.

Multiple women have now come forward to accuse the New York Democrat of sexual wrongdoing.

Charlotte Bennett, a former executive assistant and health policy adviser to Cuomo, told The New York Times over the weekend that the governor asked her numerous questions about her personal life including whether she thought age made a difference in romantic relationships. She alleges Cuomo said he was open to relationships with women in their 20s. Bennett who was 25 years old told The Times, “I understood the governor wanted to sleep with me and I felt horribly uncomfortable and scared.” 

Nearly 24 hours after The Times first reported Bennett’s story, Cuomo issued a statement acknowledging his past comments may have been inappropriate saying, “I now understand 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.”

Just the fact that the normally brash Cuomo felt that he needed to issue an apology at all made an impression on some who know and watch him.

“Look, hearing Andrew Cuomo apologize for anything is breathtaking,” said Times reporter Maggie Haberman. “I have covered him on and off for 20 years and I can’t remember another time when he has done that. It speaks to the degree to which he knows he is in real trouble.”

MSNBC host Kasie Hunt cautioned that Cuomo’s fellow Democrats will have to take the allegations seriously.

“And this is going to be a conversation that we’re going to be having over the course of the next week. And the reality is that when it was Republicans who were accused of these things, the mantra was ‘believe women.’ That consistency is incredibly important,” she said in an on-air segment.

That certainly appears to be the case at the White House, where press secretary Jen Psaki addressed the matter with reporters.

“Well, Ashley, as I said yesterday, that story was incredibly uncomfortable to read as a woman. And we certainly believe that every woman coming forward, Charlotte, Lindsey, should be treated with respect and dignity and be able to tell their story and treated with respect,” Psaki said, referring to Bennett and another former staffer to levy harassment charges: Lindsey Boylan. “There is a process of reviewing, as you noted, an independent investigation. We will leave it to that process through the attorney general to make a determination on the path forward.”

The charges also afford the opportunity for rivals, even other Democrats, to score points at Cuomo’s expense.

“It’s even more horrible if it’s something like sexual harassment or taking advantage of high office in intimidating the young woman, to laugh it off is even more troubling. That’s not a laughing matter,” said New York City Mayor Bill deBlasio (D), who has long feuded with the governor. “So, you know, people who have done something wrong need to admit it and then talk about what needs to change. And I certainly didn’t hear that.”

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