New York Senate’s Top Democrat: One More Accuser and Cuomo Should Resign

March 5, 2021 Updated: March 6, 2021

The top Democrat in New York’s Legislature said Thursday that if a fourth woman comes forward to accuse Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment, then he should step down from office.

“Any further people coming forward, I would think it would be time for him to resign,” Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins told Spectrum News’ “Capital Tonight.”

“Quite honestly, I am so, so disappointed that here we are in 2021 and we are having these conversations on the heels of #MeToo,” she added.

Dozens of state lawmakers have called for Cuomo to resign, as well as several U.S. members of Congress who represent portions of New York.

“The time has come. The Governor must resign,” Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) said on March 1, after Anna Ruch accused Cuomo of asking for a kiss during a wedding in 2019. A photograph shows Ruch, 33, looking at Cuomo, 63, as he holds her head with both of his hands.

Ruch’s allegations came after Lindsey Boylan, 36, and Charlotte Bennett, 25, both former Cuomo aides, said he harassed them at work.

Boylan said Cuomo actually kissed her during a meeting.

Bennett told CBS on Thursday that the governor asked her about sexual relationships and said he would be fine with dating 22-year-olds. He also allegedly said he was searching for a girlfriend because he was lonely.

“I really was uncomfortable and understood that my boss was asking these questions, so I was trying to answer them,” she said. “I feel like people put the onus on the woman to shut that conversation down. And by answering, I was somehow engaging in that or enabling it, when in fact, I was just terrified.”

Cuomo’s conduct is being investigated by New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat.

Asked if she would have her daughter working for Cuomo, Stewart-Cousins indicated she wasn’t sure.

“I am concerned. That’s what I’m really, really clear about,” she told Spectrum News. “Because I was 25 at some point, too. And back when I was 25, things were quite different. People said anything. We can’t go back, and the idea that a young woman would be subjected to sexual harassment in any workplace is just out of bounds.”

Cuomo
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference in Albany, N.Y., on March 3, 2021. (Office of the NY Governor via AP)

Cuomo in a written statement on Sunday said he spends most of his time at work and that 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 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.”

Cuomo has said he “never inappropriately touched anybody and I never propositioned anybody.”

In his first public appearance in over a week on Wednesday, the Democrat defied the growing calls to resign.

“I wasn’t elected by politicians. I was elected by the people of the state of New York. I’m not going to resign,” he said.

Cuomo said he customarily kisses people as he greets them and doesn’t intend to make them uncomfortable.

“However, what I also understand is, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter my intent. What it matters is if anybody was offended by it, and I could intend no offense, but if they were offended by it, then it was wrong. And if they were offended by it, I apologize. And if they were hurt by it, I apologize. And if they felt pain from it, I apologize. I apologize,” he said.

Asked who he was apologizing to, he said, “I was apologizing to the young woman who worked here who said that I made her feel uncomfortable, and in the workplace.”

Bennett told CBS she didn’t accept the apology.

“It’s not an apology. It’s not an issue of my feelings. It’s an issue of his actions. The fact is that he was sexually harassing me and he has not apologized for sexually harassing me and he can’t even use my name,” she said.

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