Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) went the furthest of all Democratic senators questioned on the issue. Good that she trusting the attorney general’s investigation, she suggested that “there may be a tipping point when it comes to Governor Cuomo where he should resign.”
The #MeToo movement that erupted into a nationwide confrontation against sexual harassment in 2017, fueled in part by the election of Donald Trump, has ended the careers of members of Congress from both parties. Perhaps no one has become a greater symbol of the Democratic Party’s attempt to enact a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment. than Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who resigned after seven women accused him of touching them inappropriately. But senators see the allegations against Cuomo differently from those against Franken, who was a colleague.
While Cuomo is well known and could run for higher positions, senators largely leave it to New York state officials to decide the governor’s political fate.
“I am happy that the Attorney General is carrying out a very rigorous investigation. Most importantly, women are heard and taken seriously, ”said Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.). As to whether Cuomo should step down, she said, “At this point, I think the people of New York have to decide.”
Democrats also spoke out against the sexual assault allegations against Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his Supreme Court upholding fight, but this situation was even more distinct: Kavanaugh was a candidate they had an obligation to vet.
“One of the bases is that allegations like this should be investigated. You now have an investigation in New York by the Attorney General, and I assume she will make recommendations, ”said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (DR.I.). “So the difference is – Al never had that.”
Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) Predicted that Cuomo was a “goner,” but compared the governor’s situation to Franken’s this way: “The Senate rules itself.
The two New York Democratic senators, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, strongly endorsed the Attorney General’s investigation into Cuomo. Although Cuomo has said he plans to cooperate with the investigation and apologized for making the women uncomfortable, the governor made it clear on Wednesday that he had no plans to resign. In addition to the sexual harassment allegations, Cuomo also faces an investigation into his handling of nursing home deaths during the pandemic.
So far, Representative Kathleen Rice (DN.Y.) is the only member of the state delegation to call for Cuomo’s resignation. Rice urged Franken to step down in his own #MeToo wave in 2017 days before Gillibrand became the first senator to call on his colleague to step down.
Other Democratic members of the New York delegation, including Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, are waiting for the investigation to unfold. Representative Yvette Clarke told reporters that she was “a huge fan of due process”, while Representative Gregory Meeks described the problem as “a very, very serious thing”.
The allegations against Cuomo began last week, when his former assistant, Lindsey Boylan, wrote an essay accusing the governor of asking him to play strip poker and forcibly kissing her on the lips. Days later, a second former aide, Charlotte Bennett, said Cuomo had asked her about her sex life, including whether she would consider having sex with older men. A third woman, Anna Ruch, came forward this week and said Cuomo asked if he could kiss her at a wedding reception.
“Every public official should realize that what he says in the workplace is subject to scrutiny,” said Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), who refused to influence Cuomo’s future. “In these cases, these women are going through a difficult time and are under a lot of pressure to come forward. And they must be heard. It’s more than just a stock review. The things you say are relevant. ”
Some GOP members see a double standard in the Democrats’ treatment of Cuomo compared to other high-profile misconduct allegations, although Trump has faced more than 20 allegations of sexual harassment and assault, which the Republicans have rarely addressed it. The former president has denied any wrongdoing.
However, Apart from Schumer and Gillibrand, several Senate Democrats have said they don’t pay much attention to the Cuomo controversy and have shown little eagerness to talk about it.
Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said he does not live in New York and has “no thoughts.” Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) Said she was focusing on President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief plan. When asked to comment, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) Said he had “the same thing everyone else is doing: complete the investigation”.
A senator, addressing the thorny subject on condition of anonymity, said Democrats were reluctant to publicly call on Cuomo to step down when they did not tolerate allegations of sexual harassment because it was a controversy in another. State. Voters do not want senators to interfere in the affairs of other states, the senator added.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (RS.C.), who berated Democrats for their treatment of Kavanaugh upon his confirmation, said his colleagues were “wrapped around the axle.”
“They were loud, vocal, ‘Kavanaugh has to go,’” Graham said. “Now they’ve got someone, a top Democrat, and they’re figuring out how to handle this. Here’s my advice: handle them all the same. This way you don’t have to worry about it.
Anna Gronewold contributed to this report.