Since New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s former employee Lindsey Boylan’s essay detailing allegations of sexual harassment was published last week, there has been a slew of new accusations.
This isn’t surprising. We have watched Mr. Cuomo behave like an entitled god-king, smug and arrogant as he issued COVID-19 orders that sent thousands of people to their deaths in nursing homes, destroying lives, businesses and the economy. His was policy that could only be delivered by a man through executive orders who had no empathy or concern for the people impacted. After all, if he’s willing to send COVID-infected people into nursing homes without a care about the obvious devastation, what is he capable of with individuals in his own orbit?
Mr. Cuomo is known for being a bully. He is so widely disliked, even a Washington Post headline declares, “Andrew Cuomo, a longtime political bully, is receiving his comeuppance.”
Moreover, in her essay, Ms. Boylan noted, “‘Governor Andrew Cuomo has created a culture within his administration where sexual harassment and bullying is so pervasive that it is not only condoned but expected,’
‘His inappropriate behavior toward women was an affirmation that he liked you, that you must be doing something right. He used intimidation to silence his critics. And if you dared to speak up, you would face consequences,’” The Washington Times reported.
Intimidation is a pervasive tactic for Mr. Cuomo. For those targeted by him, when you are young and your career rests in the hands of arguably one of the more powerful men in the country, coming forward and complaining can be a disturbing, career-ending, and even dangerous option.
As we’re reminded with the current tsunami facing Mr. Cuomo, very often all it takes is one person willing to come forward that shatters the wall of protection and threat. The reaction to Ms. Boylan’s allegations and the ensuing public awareness has made it safer for others to come forward. Consider the Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein cases. One woman stepped up, more followed.
This is, no doubt, what Mr. Cuomo was desperate to stop. There are now three women who say that he sexually harassed them. Allegations include unwanted touching and even sexual assault with unwanted kissing.
New York’s Attorney General Letitia James made it clear that his original plan to choose an investigator to look into the allegations was unacceptable to her. In a public statement, she insisted he assign her office to address the issue, signaling a sea change in attitude and awareness of how serious this has become. He capitulated and issued a pseudo-admission and apology.
He did not completely deny the allegations, noting in a statement he was being “playful” and “never intended to make anyone uncomfortable.” In other words, he offered up a familiar refrain by harassers, that the women misunderstood him, blaming the cognitive capability of women instead of taking full responsibility for his own behavior.
We’ve seen this smug sanctimony from Mr. Cuomo before — when he was blaming everyone else for the mass death at nursing homes his policy created. When the debacle was initially being realized, the first thing Mr. Cuomo’s office did was to attempt a coverup by removing his order from his office’s website. He then proceeded to blame President Trump, the federal government, the nursing homes, the patients themselves, God, nature, you name it, every single thing on Earth was responsible. Except him.
With the onslaught, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the accusations against Mr. Cuomo are “credible.” And the Democratic establishment is rapidly distancing itself from its erstwhile hero. Ms. Boylan noted that when she first started working at the governor’s office she was warned by other members of his staff to “be careful” around him.
With what is emerging about Mr. Cuomo, it’s becoming apparent many people knew of his behavior and attitude.
For a man who’s been governor of New York for over a decade, is chair of the National Governors’ Association, was the attorney general of New York and served as secretary of Housing and Urban Development during the Clinton administration, one would think his attitude toward other people would be well known to party leadership.
This could be why certain Democratic leaders have already thrown him under the bus. Those who know Mr. Cuomo probably have a feeling what an independent investigation is going to uncover.
It’s worth noting the people who are shocked, just shocked and are endorsing the need for an independent investigation into the sexual harassment allegations — including Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton and Kirsten Gillibrand — have not issued a similar condemnation of call for an investigation into his responsibility for the COVID-19 deaths of more than 15,000 people in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
While it’s a good thing he’s facing repercussions for allegedly harassing multiple women, it’s striking Democratic leadership doesn’t seem to view Mr. Cuomo’s involvement in the deaths of thousands of people as seriously.
• Tammy Bruce, president of Independent Women’s Voice, author, and Fox News contributor, is a radio talk-show host.