While it’s only March, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s really bad year just got a little worse when a third accuser came forward on Monday after two former aides have charged the Democratic governor of sexual harassment.
Making matters worse, Cuomo is even beginning to lose CNN, which all but served as his personal PR machine throughout much of 2020.
Anna Ruch met Gov. Cuomo for the first time at a wedding reception in New York City and his brazen behavior in the crowded room left her “confused and shocked and embarrassed,” The New York Times reported.
The encounter occurred recently, in September 2019, and according to Ruch, a former member of the Obama administration and the 2020 Biden campaign, Cuomo not only put his hands on her, but asked if he could kiss her — loud enough for others to hear.
Remarkably, there is a photograph of the encounter and, to the surprise of many, CNN anchor Jake Tapper shared the image online:
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) March 2, 2021
On Sunday, before Ruch came forward, Cuomo released a statement calling for an “outside, independent review” of the allegations leveled against him and apologized for behavior that may have been “misinterpreted,” insisting that he never touched anyone or made a proposition.
“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,” the governor said in the release.
Cuomo added, “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.”
More from The Times on Ruch’s story:
The governor was working the room after toasting the newlyweds, and when he came upon Ms. Ruch, now 33, she thanked him for his kind words about her friends. But what happened next instantly unsettled her: Mr. Cuomo put his hand on Ms. Ruch’s bare lower back, she said in an interview on Monday.
When she removed his hand with her own, Ms. Ruch recalled, the governor remarked that she seemed “aggressive” and placed his hands on her cheeks. He asked if he could kiss her, loudly enough for a friend standing nearby to hear. Ms. Ruch was bewildered by the entreaty, she said, and pulled away as the governor drew closer.
The embattled Democrat was already facing intense scrutiny over concealing the number of COVID-19 deaths occurring in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and then Lindsey Boylan, a special adviser under Cuomo, released a detailed essay of her experiences with Cuomo.
Charlotte Bennett, another former aide, then came forward to accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment — she would dismiss his statement issued on Sunday.
“These are not the actions of someone who simply feels misunderstood,” Bennett said, according to The Times. “They are the actions of an individual who wields his power to avoid justice.”
Bennett called on other women to speak up if they’ve been the victim of inappropriate behavior by Cuomo: “If you choose to speak your truth, we will be standing with you. I promise.”
Meanwhile, fellow Democrats are now abandoning Cuomo in droves.
Rep. Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y., a former Nassau County district attorney, took to social media to call on Cuomo to resign — the first Democrat in New York’s congressional delegation to do so.
“The time has come. The Governor must resign,” she tweeted Monday.
Before Ruch’s story was reported, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday that Cuomo should step down if the sexual harassment allegations against him by two former aides are corroborated.
“If someone purposely tried to use their power to force a woman to have sex with them, of course that’s someone who should no longer be in public service,” the radical left mayor said at a press briefing.
Ironically, after serving as a one-man cheering squad for his brother in 2020 — over his handling of the pandemic, of all things — CNN anchor Chris Cuomo commented on recent developments Monday, only to say that he “cannot” report on them “because he is my brother.”
>> @ChrisCuomo at the top of @CuomoPrimeTime tonight: "Obviously I am aware of what is going on with my brother. And obviously I cannot cover it because he is my brother. Now, of course CNN has to cover it. They have covered it extensively and they will continue to do so." pic.twitter.com/G49mZYTG4D
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) March 2, 2021
Even more ironically, in an interview aired a couple of weeks after Cuomo’s directive that sent coronavirus-positive patients into the state’s nursing homes, his little brother teased him on air, “I’ve seen you referred to a little bit recently as the ‘Love Gov.’”
Here’s a sampling of other responses to the story from Twitter:
That’s game pic.twitter.com/B5qINYYCn3
— Alex Griswold (@HashtagGriswold) March 2, 2021
A picture is worth a thousand words. He’s toast, deservedly so.
— Lisa Pines (@PinesLisa) March 2, 2021
That look on her face.
— Sir Humphrey (@bdquinn) March 2, 2021
Little bro ain’t going to be happy with this in the news room.
— Gene Debs 🌹 (@MLS_Energy) March 2, 2021
— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) March 2, 2021
This just put the nail in the coffin.
— AFII (@All_Facts_22) March 2, 2021
He looks like a mob boss and she looks terrified.
— Steve (@Steve_OBX) March 2, 2021
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