So, was it all worth it?
When then-President Trump was doing media briefings on the coronavirus every weekday last spring and summer, Democrats needed an “antidote.”
The most obvious choice was Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York, who was given to brusque, 90-minute diatribes about the current state of affairs in the Empire State that CNN could use to fill gaps in their late-morning programming. And a star was born — one who gave refreshingly honest information about COVID that liberals could trust.
It became evident early on that the “honest” part was poppycock and you didn’t need to be an Albany insider to intuit that whole fuggedaboutit New York pugnacity that made MSNBC anchors swoon masked a less palatable, more malignant temper when the cameras weren’t running.
But he was useful, he got an Emmy and his magnetism even inspired the word “Cuomosexual,” a neologism with decidedly different undertones these days.
That’s because, as Cuomo continues to fight off a nursing home death-toll scandal that somehow continues to get worse, the number of women who have accused him of untoward sexual advances and behavior continues to grow.
And just in case you didn’t think this could get worse for Cuomo, the latest accusation hasn’t just landed on the front page, but on the Albany police blotter as well.
The New York Times reported Thursday that an alleged groping incident by Cuomo at the Executive Mansion late last year was reported to the Albany Police Department by the New York State Police and the governor’s office after it appeared in the media.
While a report hasn’t been filed by the alleged victim, police say it may have risen “to the level of a crime.”
The alleged incident, the sixth such accusation leveled against the governor, was first published by the Albany Times Union, a paper where the newsroom has suddenly become very busy.
Another allegation against the New York governor would still be of little note in the rest of the country, given that even the Democrats now loudly clamoring for due process for the first time in a while would concede there’s certainly a lot of due to be processed in Cuomo’s case.
The behavior described in the Times Union article, however, is of a considerably more aggressive nature than the allegations imputed to Cuomo in the past few weeks.
“The staff member, whose identity is being withheld by the Times Union, had been called to the mansion under the apparent pretext of having her assist the governor with a minor technical issue involving his mobile phone,” the Times Union reported.
“They were alone in Cuomo’s private residence on the second floor when he closed the door and allegedly reached under her blouse and began to fondle her, according to the source.”
“The allegations by the female aide, who is the sixth woman to accuse Cuomo of inappropriate behavior, were first reported Tuesday by the Times Union. The additional details describe the most egregious behavior attributed to the governor to date — conduct that could potentially be pursued as a misdemeanor sexual assault charge,” the outlet reported.
“The person briefed on the case, who is not authorized to comment publicly, said the woman — who is much younger than Cuomo — told the governor to stop. Her broader allegations include that he frequently engaged in flirtatious behavior with her, and that it was not the only time that he had touched her.”
The allegations first came to light after the aide became emotional watching Cuomo deny ever touching a woman “inappropriately” in his first media briefing after a Feb. 24 Medium essay in which Lindsey Boylan, a former aide to Cuomo, detailed allegations of sexual harassment by the governor. When a female supervisor came to her and asked about her reaction, she detailed what she said happened.
Cuomo denied the allegations in a statement to the Times Union: “As I said yesterday, I have never done anything like this. The details of this report are gut-wrenching. I am not going to speak to the specifics of this or any other allegation given the ongoing review, but I am confident in the result of the attorney general’s report,” he said, referring to New York Attorney General Letitia James’ investigation into the allegations against him.
While James’ investigative team is no doubt interested in this accusation, they’re not the only ones.
New York State Police spokesman William Duffy said Albany police had been contacted “to facilitate a contact with the executive chamber regarding the alleged incident,” according to The New York Times.
The Albany Police Department then contacted the governor’s office regarding the matter, which the governor’s office confirmed.
“As a matter of state policy, when allegations of physical contact are made, the agency informs the complainant that they should contact their local police department,” said Beth Garvey, the governor’s acting counsel, in a statement. “If they decline, the agency has an obligation to reach out themselves and inform the department of the allegation.”
“In this case, the person is represented by counsel and when counsel confirmed the client did not want to make a report, the state notified the police department and gave them the attorney’s information,” she added.
The aide’s decision to pursue charges could change, of course. Even if it doesn’t, this changes the public trajectory of Cuomo’s defenders.
Before the latest accusation, the refrigerator-magnet construct of every argument in Cuomo’s favor was some rearrangement of “due process,” “COVID leadership,” “acknowledging mistakes” and “Al Franken.”
We threw the “due process” magnet in the garbage with Brett Kavanaugh, of course, and Cuomo’s COVID leadership is now a joke to all but his most deluded defenders.
In terms of acknowledging mistakes with how he’s dealt with women, well, that depends on whether you believe the women who’ve accused Cuomo of going well beyond what he’s apologized for. (Or, to rephrase it, whether or not you believe all women.)
The “Al Franken” one, however — that was still in play. Franken, in case you’ve forgotten, was the Minnesota senator who was forced to resign after he was accused of being touchy-feely with women — along with taking this photo:
Odd how you choose to defend a sexual assaulter by saying it was a joke. His victim(s) didn’t think it was a joke. But nice to know you think sexual assault is funny.
“Al Franken, That Photo, and Trusting the Women – The Atlantic” https://t.co/Tn9cr0eKLD
— In it For Fun (@InitForFun1) February 4, 2021
How you feel about Franken’s resignation is generally a partisan issue, but he was never accused of being anything beyond being way too touchy-feely. This, on the other hand, is predator-class behavior — the kind of stuff that usually leads to perp-walks if you’re not among the powerful.
In short, that refrigerator magnet can safely be thrown into the garbage, too. Cuomo, at least by the standards of his own side, is defenseless.
He’s not just being accused of tactlessness, boorishness or what one particularly unshakeable Cuomoite columnist called “hugging-kissing scandal[s]” anymore. The Albany Police Department is interested. If this aide files a report, Letitia James’ investigation may be the least imminent of his concerns. And day after day, the accusations pile up.
Hope it was all worth it, because the charade has come to an end.
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