Under pressure, Gov. Cuomo on Sunday issued what he hoped folks would see as an “apology” following sexual-harassment charges against him: He’s “sorry” his accusers “misinterpreted” his comments. Does he really think New Yorkers are that stupid?
That apology blames the victims: “I never intended to offend anyone,” he says; his remarks were just “jokes” — but now he understands that “some” of his comments “have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation.”
It’s all his accusers’ fault, in other words. Which is pure baloney.
Notably, he’s not denying having made the remarks. One accuser, Charlotte Bennett, a 25-year-old former executive assistant on his staff, says Cuomo, 63, asked her about her sex life and if she ever had sex with older men. She was convinced he wanted to sleep with her and felt “uncomfortable and scared,” she told The New York Times.
The other accuser, Lindsey Boylan, a former deputy secretary for economic development, similarly says Cuomo came on to her. But now the gov wants people to think he was just joking, that these weren’t highly inappropriate advances.
Bennett doesn’t buy it: The governor is refusing to “take responsibility for his predatory behavior,” she said Monday.
Cuomo also first tried to head off an independent probe of the allegations, until Attorney General Letitia James demanded she be allowed to oversee it without needing to satisfy the gov’s own “investigator.”
Lost in all this is that there’s still no independent state probe regarding Cuomo’s March 25 order that nursing homes accept COVID patients. That mandate likely led to hundreds of deaths — and later to a Team Cuomo effort to cover up the toll.
Yes, the Justice Department has been looking into whether Cuomo’s aides intentionally juiced the numbers. On Monday, The Post reported Cuomo’s executive chamber hired an outside attorney to defend it.
Yet state officials need to do their own probe, verifying the extent of damage from that order, the role of campaign donors in shaping hospital and nursing-home policy and whether the gov’s folks broke any laws in covering up the scandal.
James says she’ll take the sexual-harassment allegations seriously. Good, but nursing-home deaths deserve at least as much scrutiny.