New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio slammed Governor Cuomo on Monday morning as he slammed his apology to his sexual harassment accusers, called for an investigation into that and the nursing home scandal and suggested he was not fit to serve in public office.
Over the weekend, Cuomo issued an apology to two former aides who said he sexually harassed them with inappropriate remarks when they worked for him. He said they’d misinterpreted what he called ‘kidding’ around at work.
On Monday morning, de Blasio said his apology was ‘not an apology’ and that he was trying to let himself ‘off the hook’.
After giving an update on COVID-19 numbers, de Blasio was asked by a reporter what he thought of Cuomo’s apology.
He said: ‘That’s not an apology. He seemed to be saying I was just kidding around. Sexual harassment’s just not funny. It’s serious. It has to be taken seriously.
‘Clearly he was just letting himself off the hook for something that for the women involved, sounded pretty terrifying. We need a full investigation. We need the whole truth of what happened.’
He then went on: ‘We need to make sure it never happens again and we need to look at the nursing home issue.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday said Gov. Cuomo’s apology was ‘not an apology’ and that he’d tried to reduce the women’s ‘terrifying’ claims by claiming he was joking
‘We cannot just look at one or the other – we need a full investigation into the nursing home issue, where thousands of people died. Information was covered up on purpose.
‘And we still don’t know if our seniors are safe, our elders.
‘We have not got a full accounting of the facts. Both these issues need to be looked in to.’
Asked if Cuomo should resign over the claims, de Blasio said: ‘What we can say here is we’ve got two women who worked for him…
‘Anything like that, if someone purposefully tried to use their power to force a woman to have sex with them?
‘Of course that’s someone who should no longer be in public service.’
De Blasio also went on New York City radio station Hot 97 to say the allegations ‘sickened him.
‘It sickened me, it sickened me.
‘The thought of a powerful man trying to take advantage of his power, intimidate a young woman and just the sense that he was treating her like — again these are allegations and we need a full investigation — but if that was what truly happened it was like he was treating her like she was his property.
‘Just disgusting, creepy.’
Bennett, right, told the New York Times the governor asked her questions about her sex life, whether she had monogamous relationships and if she ever had sex with older men – all during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Days earlier, Boylan, left, elaborated on accusations she first made in December, saying Cuomo had subjected her to an unwanted kiss and made inappropriate comments about her appearance
‘Sexual harassment is not funny. Who the hell tries to explain that by saying I was just joking around?
‘I’ve seen him be abusive in a way that would not be accepted by anyone in leadership,’ he said.
On Saturday, Charlotte Bennett, 25, told The New York Times the governor asked her questions about her sex life, whether she had monogamous relationships and if she ever had sex with older men.
She said it happened in June, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lindsay Neilsen says she left Albany-based News10 ABC in 2017 after five years because Cuomo’s team ‘bullied’ her. Her allegations were not sexual in nature
Days earlier, another former aide, Lindsey Boylan, 36, a former deputy secretary for economic development and special adviser to the governor, elaborated on accusations she first made in December, saying Cuomo had subjected her to an unwanted kiss and made inappropriate comments about her appearance.
He initially denied all of the allegations but on Sunday, released a statement saying that he had been misunderstood by the women.
‘Questions have been raised about some of my past interactions with people in the office. I never intended to offend anyone or cause any harm. I spend most of my life at work and colleagues are often also personal friends.
‘At work sometimes I think I am being playful and make jokes that I think are funny. I do, on occasion, tease people in what I think is a good natured way. I do it in public and in private.
‘ You have seen me do it at briefings hundreds of times. I have teased people about their personal lives, their relationships, about getting married or not getting married. I mean no offense and only attempt to add some levity and banter to what is a very serious business.
‘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. I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation. To the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that.
‘To be clear I never inappropriately touched anybody and I never propositioned anybody and I never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but these are allegations that New Yorkers deserve answers to.
‘That’s why I have asked for an outside, independent review that looks at these allegations.
Andrew Cuomo (pictured in 2016 with his daughter Michaela) has been branded ‘creepy’ by social media users after a video resurfaced of him telling a female journalist that he wanted to see her eating a whole sausage in front of him
Beth Cefalu is a reporter for News 12 Westchester. She is shown above on the job
‘Separately, my office has heard anecdotally that some people have reached out to Ms. Bennett to express displeasure about her coming forward. My message to anyone doing that is you have misjudged what matters to me and my administration and you should stop now – period.’
He then wanted to appoint his own investigators to look into the claims.
New York State Attorney General has launched an investigation instead.
Another woman has come forward to say she quit her job as a journalist after being ‘bullied’ by Cuomo’s office for five years.
Lindsay Neilsen said she left Albany-based News10 ABC in 2017 following five years with the network after realizing the ‘accusatory phone calls’ from his team ‘was never going to stop’.
A video also emerged this weekend showing Cuomo repeatedly telling a local reporter to eat ‘the whole sausage’ at the 2016 New York State Fair.
Many viewed it as creepy.
The reporter – Beth Cefalu – tweeted on Monday that she never felt harassed.
At the same time, Washington lawmakers have demanded an investigation into Cuomo’s administration’s handling of the nursing home scandal which sent 6,000 elderly COVID-19-infected patients back into homes.
It was the result of a directive that the health department gave.
Initially, the number of nursing home deaths in the state seemed much smaller than it actually was because Cuomo’s administration was counting many of them among hospital deaths.
If a person was living in a nursing home, contracted COVID but then died in hospital and not in the home, Cuomo’s health department counted it as a hospital death and not a nursing home death.
He has always defended it, saying the final number never changed. Many have accused him of a deliberate cover up.