Mayor Bill De Blasio condemned Governor Andrew Cuomo‘s ‘laughable’ statement trying to defend his ‘criminal’ behavior as ‘an insult to these women’ referring to the damning report from Attorney General Letitia James that found he did sexually harass 11 women.
Speaking with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, De Blasio blasted Gov. Cuomo’s weak rational for his innocence as ‘laughable.’ De Blasio commented on the governor’s slideshow of 32 images showing him hugging and kissing people throughout his life to demonstrate what he described as an affectionate and tactile personality and not sexual harassment.
‘His attempt to show pictures with family members as a defense was an insult to these women. An insult to the whole notion that a public servant is held to a high standard,’ he said.
De Blasio spoke candidly about Gov. Cuomo’s sexual harassment report, ‘It’s disgusting. I mean you read the pages of that report and what we heard at the press conference my heart goes out to these women first of all.’
On Tuesday along with the video statement containing the slideshow, Gov. Cuomo also released an 85-page written response to the independent investigation. Only 26 pages contain text, with the rest filled with photos of him and other politicians hugging or being in physical contact with people.
Mayor De Blasio did not hold back his strong ‘disgust’ of Governor Cuomo’s sexual harassment and his denial of his inappropriate behavior
In the video statement, Gov. Cuomo claims that the his accusers have ‘sought to unfairly characterize and weaponize everyday interactions that I’ve had with any number of New Yorkers.’
Brazenly claiming, his actions are ‘not front-page news.’ He insist that his actions were misinterpreted by the women defending his actions saying, ‘I’ve been making the same public gesture all my life. I actually learnt it from my mother and my father,’referring to the late New York Governor Mario Cuomo and his widow, Matilda Cuomo.
‘There are hundreds if not thousands of photos of me using the exact same gesture. I do it with everyone: Black and white, young and old, straight and LGBTQ, powerful people, friends, strangers, people who I meet on the street,’ the governor said as a slideshow of photos showing him hugging or kissing a wide range of people.
Cuomo remained defensive following the investigation’s findings, saying that ‘the facts are much different than what has been portrayed.’
But De Blasio did not buy Gov. Cuomo’s defense, ‘They were put through hell by a powerful man who held their career in his hands and he used that power to manipulate, to have his way and they were put in a horrible situation not knowing if they get to keep their job, what would happen to their futures, their reputations.’
He stated plainly, ‘This is textbook sexual harassment unfortunately making it worse in some cases sexual assault. Disgusting and troubling and unacceptable and he needs to leave office immediately.’
President Biden and a long list of fellow Democratic leaders have since called for the New York governor to resign.
De Blasio made his stance on Gov. Cuomo’s future very clear, ‘He should resign and he won’t resign. He should be impeached as quickly as possible by the state legislature. He can’t govern. And this was one investigation.’
He pointed to other investigations into the governor’s inability to lead, ‘I mean this guy is past the point of no return. He can’t govern. He just has to go.’
Gov. Cuomo addressed the AG’s report that he sexually harassed 11 women in a video statement, on Tuesday
The governor claimed that ‘everyday interactions’ were unfairly characterized and weaponized
Cuomo unveiled a photo montage showing him hugging and kissing numerous people
He also released photos of other politicians including Biden, Harris, Obama, and Clinton physically touching other people while in office
When asked if Gov. Cuomo should face criminal charges, the mayor boldly stated, ‘Any assault on a woman you should face criminal charges but if you, on top of that, used your powerful position to think you could cover up that assault. Well that sounds criminal to me.’
Discussing the idea that these allegations and the findings of the state general attorney are politically motivated, he specifically pointed to one of Gov. Cuomo’s accusers, Charlotte Bennett, saying that she was just, ‘A young woman trying to do good in the world’ as a public servant.
Cuomo has refused to resign but one of the 11 accusers, Charlotte Bennett, told CBS she felt ‘vindicated’ and that he needed to resign.
She described his defiant press conference – in which he spent significant time discussing her allegations in particular – as ‘propaganda’ and self-serving, calling it ‘weird’ and ‘a circus act’.
Cuomo claims it omits facts and is a political attack on him – despite growing calls to step down and the increasing likelihood of impeachment. Bennett, who worked as an executive assistant and health policy adviser in the Cuomo administration until she left in November, said it was a relief to be believed.
‘Today was so validating and really emotional, and I feel vindicated,’ she told CBS.
Charlotte Bennett, who worked for Cuomo last year, told CBS News she felt ‘vindicated’ by the report
‘It’s been a long day, but I’m proud to be a New Yorker right now.
‘He’s trying to justify himself by making me out to be someone who can’t tell the difference between sexual harassment and mentorship.
‘We have a report. We have the facts. The governor broke federal and state law when he sexually harassed me and current and former staffers.
‘And if he is not willing to step down then we have a responsibility to act and impeach him.
‘He sexually harassed me. I am not confused. It is not confusing. I am living in reality. And it is sad to see he is not.’
Cuomo said that he was trying to help Bennett deal with the trauma of a previous sexual assault, but Bennett told CBS this was not the case.
‘His intention was trying to sleep with me,’ she said, dismissing his explanation of cultural or generational misunderstandings.
‘Publicly he would rather play dumb. Privately he knows he sexually harassed staffers.
‘And I think it’s easier to explain his behavior publicly be saying there was some misunderstanding.’
‘I’ve been making the same public gesture all my life. I actually learnt it from my mother and my father,’ a defiant Gov. Cuomo said on Tuesday, referring to the late New York Governor Mario Cuomo and his widow, Matilda Cuomo
She added, ‘Accepting responsibility means stepping down. I don’t believe him. I don’t want an apology – it’s not necessary. It’s fake.
‘And his propaganda video was downright weird and unnecessary.’
She said his only concern was ‘maintaining the power he has’ rather than ‘protecting New York.’
Bennett accused him of ‘normalizing not only victim blaming, but sexual harassment’ and said it was dangerous and ‘a circus act.’
‘It sends a message that sexual harassment is not important, and not dangerous. It is important, and it’s just plain illegal.’
A 2018 survey conducted by Stop Street Harassment found that 81 per cent of women and 43 per cent of men had experienced some form of sexual harassment during their lifetime. 38 per cent of women said they experienced sexual harassment at the workplace.