One of the top Democrats in Congress and the White House backed an investigation into sexual harassment claims made in recent days against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, one of the most visible governors in the country during the past year.
“The women who have come forward with serious and credible charges against Governor Cuomo deserve to be heard and to be treated with dignity,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement to news outlets.
“The independent investigation must have due process and respect for everyone involved,” she added.
Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, told reporters on Monday that reading allegations made by one of the women made her “incredible uncomfortable.”
“We certainly believe that every woman coming forward, Charlotte, Lindsey, should be treated with respect and dignity and be able to tell their story,” Psaki said during a press briefing in Washington.
She noted that New York Attorney General Letitia James said overnight that her office would oversee an independent investigation with subpoena power, and that Cuomo’s office said the governor would cooperate with the probe.
“We certainly support that process. And we’ll wait to see that through,” Psaki added.
Lindsey Boylen, the former deputy secretary for economic development and special adviser to Cuomo, came forward with allegations last week, including claiming Cuomo kissed her during a meeting.
A spokesperson for Cuomo told The Epoch Times via email that details Boylen shared didn’t line up with actual events, alleging, for instance, there were no flights where Cuomo and his former aide were alone, apart from a state trooper.
A second former aide, Charlotte Bennett, put forth new claims over the weekend, alleging the governor questioned her inappropriately about her sex life.
Cuomo, a Democrat, said in a statement that he didn’t intend to offend anyone or cause harm.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Cuomo also ordered subordinates not to harass Bennett to express displeasure about her coming forward.
James said Sunday that she didn’t accept Cuomo’s proposal for an independent review.
“The state’s Executive Law clearly gives my office the authority to investigate this matter once the governor provides a referral,” James, a Democrat, said.
On Monday, James said she was launching the probe after Cuomo’s office sent her the referral.