UPDATED 6:50 PM PT – Sunday, February 28, 2021
A bipartisan chorus is rising as more and more legislators are calling for an investigation into Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.). The Democrat governor, who has been facing harsh criticism for his mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic, is now facing several sexual assault allegations from former state employees.
In a statement released on Sunday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called on the state legislature to immediately revoke the governor’s emergency powers.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio issues statement regarding allegations made against his frequent rival, Gov. Andrew Cuomo pic.twitter.com/snXWCe3moS
— Jonathan Lemire (@JonLemire) February 28, 2021
This came as Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), a strong #MeToo advocate, said while a probe into the governor is pending, the decision is left up to the legislature.
“Everyone has a right to be heard and to be able to speak their truth and have it be investigated,” Gillibrand stated. “I think that is something we have to leave up to the legislature to decide if we want to do that.”
Also on Sunday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) called for a probe into Cuomo, independent of the “individuals selected by the governor.” She is not the only New York Democrat calling for Cuomo’s resignation.
Lindsey Boylan and Charlotte Bennett’s detailed accounts of sexual harassment by Gov. Cuomo are extremely serious and painful to read.
There must be an independent investigation – not one led by an individual selected by the Governor, but by the office of the Attorney General.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 28, 2021
In a statement on Saturday, State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (D-N.Y.) said the assertions made by the former Cuomo aide “detail behavior that is unacceptable.” Biaggi went on to say she was “horrified by the comments,” noting they are the “epitome of a hostile work environment.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki also commented on the Biden administration’s position on the probe, adding that the allegations are serious and “should be reviewed.”
“When a person comes forward, they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect,” Psaki stated. “Their voice should be heard not silenced, and any allegation should be reviewed.”
This came as several former aides to the governor accused him of sexual harassment.
In an interview on Saturday, former aide and health policy advisor Charlotte Bennet said that Cuomo allegedly asked her personal questions, including whether she believed age is relevant in romantic relationships. Cuomo reportedly told the 25-year-old that he was open to relationships with women in their twenties.
Bennet said “I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me and felt horribly uncomfortable and scared.”
However, Bennet is not the only former aide of the governor to accuse him of sexual harassment. Last week, former deputy secretary Lindsey Boylan accused Cuomo of kissing her without her consent, as well as going out of his way to touch her “lower back, arms and legs.”
Cuomo has denied the allegations amid calls for investigation.