On Monday night, Representative Kathleen Rice (D-NY), who is a former Nassau County district attorney, called for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to resign after a new accusation had come up that he made unwanted advances at a woman in 2019 during a wedding.
Anna Ruch, 33, said on Monday that the governor was mingling among the wedding guests when he spotted her and put his hand on her bare lower back. she removed his hand and the governor told her she was “aggressive” and put his hands on her cheeks, and asked if he could kiss her. The request was loud enough that a friend who stood nearby heard it.
“I was so confused and shocked and embarrassed,” Rauch said, adding, “I turned my head away and didn’t have words in that moment.”
Ruch’s accusation followed two female former aides who accused Cuomo of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Congresswoman Rice tweeted “The time has come. The Governor must resign.”
Cuomo released a statement Sunday about “some of my past interactions with people in the office,” admitting that he often teases and banters with his subordinates, which is his way of “being playful” in “a very serious business.” The governor suggested his playfulness had been misunderstood, adding: “I now understand that 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.”
Cuomo’s former aide Charlotte Bennett accused the governor in a recent New York Times article, and later said that his apology and explanations last Sunday night “are not the actions of someone who simply feels misunderstood, they are the actions of an individual who wields his power to avoid justice.”
Bennett encouraged other women with similar stories about being harassed by Cuomo to come forward, saying, “If you choose to speak your truth, we will be standing with you, I promise.”
Bennett attorney, Debra Katz, issued a statement on Saturday, saying, “He was not acting as a mentor, and his remarks were not misunderstood by Ms. Bennett. He was abusing his power over her for sex. This is textbook sexual harassment.”
And seeing as Governor Cuomo is not very good at making friends, his enemies have started to join the hayride with their pitchforks and torches, including NY Mayor Bill de Blasio who said about the governor’s apology: “He seemed to be saying, ‘Aw, I was just kidding around.’ Sexual harassment isn’t funny. It’s serious and it has to be taken seriously.”
State Senators Gustavo Rivera and Alessandra Biaggi and Assemblywoman Jessica González-Rojas joined Rep. Rice’s call for Cuomo to step down. State Sen. John Liu tweeted: “A person who treats women this way is not fit to govern,” and Assemblyman Tom Abinanti said: “Stick a fork in him — he’s done. Three strikes and you’re out.”
This may be a good place to ask, what is it with NY governors and their predilections? To remind you, Gov. Eliot Spitzer was caught patronizing prostitutes on March 10, 2008, and on March 12 announced that he was leaving office.
David Paterson served as governor between Spitzer and Cuomo, and although he was forced to resign over accusations of witness tampering, he stayed away from any sort of sex abuse.
Of course, he was legally blind.