The Democrat and Chronicle‘s Editorial Board has called on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to resign after a trio of women accused him of sexual harassment.
The newspaper’s Editorial Board writes in an op-ed titled, “Our view: It’s time for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign. Here’s why.”
We say this with no small amount of sadness. It is nothing less than tragic when public figures are felled by misbehavior that harms others and ultimately themselves. The governor faces no other choice. Three women say that he sexually harassed them, and one has a photo that helps verify her story. If he pursues a protracted battle to cling to his job — even as an investigation by state Attorney General Letitia James gets under way — it won’t end well.
The power imbalance between the governor and, well, almost anybody is dramatic. This is why the leader of the Empire State must be held to the highest possible standard of behavior and decorum. New York governors are not above the rules, or above the law, or above the expectations of morality and basic decency. Our state needs a new leader who, undistracted by scandal, can protect New Yorkers’ lives during the pandemic, right the state’s economic ship and do much more to advance protections for women on the job and in society at large.
Cuomo found himself mired in a “MeToo”-style scandal when Lindsey Boylan, a former staffer in his administration, alleged last Wednesday that the governor once tried to kiss her on the mouth. Boylan also accused Cuomo of inviting her to play “strip poker” in October 2017.
Charlotte Bennett, a former health policy adviser in the Cuomo administration, told the New York Times Friday that the governor asked her inappropriate questions about her sex life, including if she ever had sex with older men.
In a Monday evening statement, Anna Ruch told the Times that she once removed Cuomo’s hand from her back and that the governor then placed his hands on her face and asked if he could kiss her.
“I was so confused and shocked and embarrassed,” Ruch said. “I turned my head away and didn’t have words in that moment.”
Cuomo delivered his first public remarks since being accused of sexual harassment Thursday. He apologized for his actions, yet maintained he “never touched anyone inappropriately.”
“The lawyers say that I shouldn’t say anything until that review is over, I’m a lawyer too, but I want New Yorkers to hear directly from me on that. I fully support a woman’s right to come forward, it should be encouraged in every way,” Cuomo said. “I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. It was unintentional, and I truly and deeply apologize for it, I feel awful about it, and frankly, I am embarrassed by it, and that is not easy to say but it is the truth.”
“I never touched anyone inappropriately,” the governor added. “I never knew at the time I was making anyone feel uncomfortable.”
Cuomo said he would not resign from his post and asked New Yorkers to wait for the facts to be made public prior to judging the situation.
“I also want you to know that I have learned from what has been an incredible, difficult situation for me as well as other people, and I’ve learned an important lesson. I’m sorry, I’m sorry for whatever pain I caused anyone, I never intended it, and I will be the better for this experience,” the governor said.