New York City mayor Bill de Blasio told a radio show Monday morning that he wants a “full investigation” into sexual harassment allegations recently leveled against New York governor Andrew Cuomo — and added that he was “sickened” by Cuomo’s alleged “abusive” behavior, which de Blasio claims to have witnessed.
“It sickened me, it sickened me,” De Blasio told a radio program. “The thought of a powerful man trying to take advantage of his power, intimidate a young woman and just the sense that he was treating her like — again these are allegations and we need a full investigation — but if that was what truly happened it was like he was treating her like she was his property. Just disgusting, creepy.”
Although Cuomo has been under increasing scrutiny over his decision to send recovering coronavirus patients into nursing homes and other adult care facilities regardless of whether they were still positive for the virus, the narrative shifted over the weekend to Cuomo’s personal behavior, after two allegations of sexual harassment surfaced both from former aides.
“Lindsey Boylan, a candidate for Manhattan borough president who formerly worked for Cuomo and the state’s economic development agency, revealed in a blog post on Wednesday that the governor had kissed her without her consent and asked her to play strip poker,” Politico reported over the weekend. “Then, on Saturday, The New York Times reported that Charlotte Bennett, a former executive assistant and health policy adviser to Cuomo, was also sexually harassed by the governor, including inappropriate questions about her sex life.”
De Blasio, who has been at odds with the governor for nearly a year, most notably over their difference of opinion on how to approach the coronavirus pandemic, also assailed the governor’s apology, which focused largely on his own behavior. Cuomo apologized, in a sense, for the harassment, but suggested that he has a twisted sense of humor that could be easily misinterpreted.
“Sexual harassment is not funny,” De Blasio said. “Who the hell tries to explain that by saying I was just joking around?”
The NYC mayor then admitted that he’d seen Cuomo engage in behavior he described as “abusive.”
“I’ve seen him be abusive in a way that would not be accepted by anyone in leadership,” he said.
In addition to the harassment claims, Cuomo is also accused of bullying a New York Assemblyman, Ron Kim, in a phone call in February.
Kim, who has been a longtime critic of Cuomo’s nursing home policy, says the governor called him at home on his cell phone just days after news broke that a Cuomo aide had privately told Democrats that the Cuomo administration had deliberately hidden the number of nursing home deaths so as to avoid a federal investigation. Kim claims Cuomo threatened his livelihood if he did not defend the governor’s administration.
Kim has since called for Cuomo to be impeached and says he is working on shoring up bipartisan support for an impeachment trial.
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