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Politics Few Democratic governors speak up on Cuomo sexual harassment allegations

21:59  03 march  2021
21:59  03 march  2021 Source:   msn.com

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  • CNBC reached out to the nearly two dozen Democratic governors in the U.S. to ask about the sexual harassment allegations against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat.
  • Only three of the offices responded to CNBC's requests for comment.
  • On Wednesday, Cuomo apologized but said he did not intend to hurt anyone or make them uncomfortable. He also refused to resign.
Andrew Cuomo wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera: New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo © Provided by CNBC New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo

Few of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's fellow Democratic governors are speaking out about the sexual harassment claims against the New York leader.

CNBC reached out to the nearly two dozen Democratic governors in the U.S. to ask about the allegations made by two female former Cuomo aides and another woman.

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Three governor's offices responded: New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Maine Gov. Janet Mills. All three governors support an independent investigation into the matter.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham spoke to the Washington Post about the allegations against Cuomo, but a press representative for her office did not respond to CNBC's request for comment.

The predominantly muted response from Democratic governors shows the uncertainty surrounding Cuomo's fate in politics. On Wednesday, the New York governor apologized but said he didn't intend to hurt anyone or make them feel uncomfortable. He also refused to resign.

President Biden's administration, along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., have said they backed the ongoing independent investigation that's being overseen by the New York state attorney general. Cuomo has said he will cooperate with the investigation.

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Rich Azzopardi, a senior Cuomo advisor, responded to requests for comment for this story by referring to Cuomo's televised briefing Wednesday.

"Did you watch the briefing he just did? He said he was fully cooperating with the AG's office," Azzopardi said in an email.

Former Cuomo aide Charlotte Bennett, 25, accused the governor of asking questions about her personal life, such as whether she was monogamous in relationships and if she had "been with an older man."

Cuomo, 63, previously conceded that he had conversations with aides that have been "misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation." He has denied ever inappropriately touching or propositioning anyone.  Cuomo reiterated his apology on Wednesday at a press conference in Albany but would not agree to stepdown from his position.

Lindsey Boylan, 36, another former aide, has accused Cuomo of kissing her without consent, among other alleged issues. He has denied her claims.

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  Donald Trump Jr. Calls for Cuomo to Lose Book Deal, Says Apply Cancel Culture 'Equally' "Simon & Schuster cancelled their contract with Josh Hawley, but Crown is going to stick by a credibly accused serial sexual harasser just because he's a Democrat?" the ex-president's son said."With everything that is coming to light, when will @CrownPublishing be canceling @andrewcuomo's contract?" Trump Jr. tweeted Monday night.

A third woman, Anna Ruch, 33, told The New York Times that Cuomo made an unwanted advance toward her at a wedding, trying to kiss her. The newspaper's article includes a picture of Cuomo attempting to hold the head of an uncomfortable-looking Ruch.

Cuomo's popularity in New York has dropped since the allegations, according to a new poll. Over 60% of those surveyed say Cuomo should not serve a fourth term.

Cuomo is a powerful figure among his fellow governors of both parties. He is the chair of the National Governors Association, a bipartisan political organization that represents all of the U.S. governors.

Cuomo is also backed by the Democratic Governors Association, a nonprofit political advocacy group that backs many Democratic governors. New Mexico's Grisham, chair of the DGA, told the Washington Post that she believes the group will release a statement on the Cuomo allegations.

Both organizations did not respond to requests for comment. The DGA's GOP counterpart, the Republican Governors Association, pounced on the accusations against Cuomo.

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  Cuomo skipped sexual harassment training - that he himself mandated - by having a staffer complete it for him, accuser says When asked by a reporter Wednesday if he had taken the sexual harassment training, Cuomo said, "Short answer is yes."Resources to help survivors of sexual assault include the National Sex Assault Hotline (800-656-4673), and The Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN) online hotline.

"The credible allegations of sexual harassment against Governor Cuomo are reprehensible," RGA spokesman Will Reinert told CNBC. "This should not be a partisan issue, and Governors on both sides of the aisle should demand Andrew Cuomo be held accountable for his disturbing actions against these women." The RGA supports at least 30 Republican governors.

Representatives for Whitmer and Mills both told CNBC that the two governors want to see an independent investigation into the claims against Cuomo.

"Governor Whitmer believes the allegations made against Governor Cuomo are serious and there needs to be a transparent, thorough, and independent investigation into this matter," Chelsea Parisio, Whitmer's deputy press secretary, said in an email.

"The Governor is disturbed by the accusations and believes they deserve a thorough and independent investigation," said Lindsay Crete, Mills' press secretary.

Murphy's spokesman referred CNBC to comments the New Jersey governor made during his Monday press briefing after a reporter asked about the allegations against Cuomo.

"I don't have any insights but what I've read is deeply concerning and deeply troubling. So it appears as though they're going to have an independent investigation," Murphy said at the time. "And that, to me, seems what they should be doing."

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"I would just add anybody who has any concern, expresses a concern, deserves to be heard and it deserves to be completely and thoroughly investigated," Murphy said.

Murphy and Cuomo have worked together on efforts to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.

Grisham, the DGA chair, told the Washington Post that she finds the claims against Cuomo "troubling."

Meanwhile, some of Cuomo's key supporters are sticking with him as the investigation proceeds.

Shortly after CNBC reported a group of Cuomo donors were pausing and reevaluating their support for the governor, other financiers reached out to explain how they were in fact they standing with him. Cuomo is running for a fourth term next year.

Though they declined to be named in order to speak freely, donors and business allies who are continuing to align themselves with the governor have reached out to him to give their support.

One friend of Cuomo's in the New York business community told CNBC they texted Cuomo one sentence: "Stay strong."

2 more women, including a former Albany reporter, come forward to accuse Gov. Andrew Cuomo of harassment and toxic behavior .
Jessica Bakeman, who formerly covered Cuomo in Albany, wrote in The Cut that he harassed and embarrassed her multiple times in front of others.Jessica Bakeman, a journalist who previously covered New York state politics for the USA Today network in Albany, wrote in an essay in The Cut that the governor sexually harassed her on multiple occasions and fed into a pervasive culture of sexual harassment in Albany writ large.

usr: 0
This is interesting!