Joe Biden wants an investigation into sexual assault and harassment allegations levied against Andrew Cuomo, the president’s spokesperson revealed Sunday, as a second woman came forward against the New York governor.
‘There should be an independent review looking into these allegations,’ White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ on Sunday. ‘And that’s certainly something the president supports.’
Psaki said the allegations ‘are serious.’
‘It was hard to read that story as a woman,’ Psaki said of the New York Times piece revealing the new allegations against Cuomo.
‘That process should move forward as quickly as possible,’ she said of a probe into the governor’s conduct toward female aides.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki (right) told CNN on Sunday that President Joe Biden wants an investigation into sexual assault and harassment claims against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
‘It was hard to read that story as a woman,’ Psaki said of the New York Times piece revealing the new allegations against Cuomo, adding the claims ‘are serious’
Charlotte Bennett, 25, who served in a number of roles for Cuomo, said the governor asked several questions of her personal life, including asking if she dated older men
The allegations came after former Cuomo aide Lindsey Boylan already alleged in tweets in December that Cuomo ‘abused his power’ and sexually harassed her for years
Charlotte Bennett, 25, told the Times in an article published Saturday, that Cuomo told her he was open to dating women in their 20s and asked her questions about her personal life in June.
Revelations of her allegations comes after Lindsey Boylan, 36, further detailed her claims against Cuomo in an essay posted to Medium on Wednesday. She added to her account of the incidents in that post, claiming the governor asked her to play strip poker and kissed her on the lips without her permission when she worked for him in 2017.
Cuomo, 63, said he ‘never intended to act in any way that was inappropriate’ with Bennett and his press secretary said Boylan’s claims were ‘false’.
The governor on Saturday promised a review by former federal judge Barbara Jones into the allegations against him. Jones was appointed to her judgeship by then-President Bill Clinton.
Progressive Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York called on Sunday for an independent investigation after Cuomo appointed a former Clinton-appointed federal judge to probe the allegations
Cuomo, 63, said he ‘never intended to act in any way that was inappropriate’ with Ms Bennett and his press secretary said Boylan’s claims were ‘false’
Prominent New York Democrats such as U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, State Senator Alessandra Biaggi, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and State Assemblyman Carl Heastie turned their backs on Cuomo and called for a ‘truly independent probe’.
‘Lindsey Boylan and Charlotte Bennett’s detailed accounts of sexual harassment by Gov. Cuomo are extremely serious and painful to read,’ AOC, who represents parts of Queen and The Bronx, tweeted on Sunday.
She added: ‘There must be an independent investigation – not one led by an individual selected by the Governor, but by the office of the Attorney General.’
The New York governor’s press secretary Caitlin Girouard issued a statement Wednesday saying Boylan’s latest allegations are untrue.
‘As we said before, Ms. Boylan’s claims of inappropriate behavior are quite simply false,’ she stated.
Special counsel and senior adviser to the governor Beth Garvey said Judge Barbara Jones will lead the review, adding ‘there are no limits’ on her scope in the probe.
Top Democrats, however, have already turned their backs on the governor and criticised the appointing of Jones.
Hochul, Cuomo’s second-in-command, called for an independent review into the claims.
‘Everyone deserves to have their voice heard and taken seriously,’ she said.
Biaggi, who chairs the New York Senate Committee on Ethics and Internal Governance, called on Cuomo to resign in a stinging rebuke.
‘As a New Yorker, a legislator, Chair of the Senate Ethics and Internal Governance Committee, and a survivor of sexual abuse, I am calling for Governor Cuomo to resign,’ Biaggi said in her statement.
She added: ‘I commend the courage of Ms. Bennett and Lindsey Boylan for coming forward.’
‘The harassment experienced by these former staffers is part of a clear pattern of abuse and manipulation by the Governor, and that pattern makes him unworthy of holding the highest office in New York.’
Heastie said ‘a truly independent investigation is warranted’ if they want to maintain the claim that ‘all allegations of harassment must be taken seriously.’
Previously, the White House has stood by Cuomo, claiming Biden would continue working with him to address the coronavirus pandemic and in the New York Democrat’s capacity as the chairman of the National Governors Association.
Cuomo has found himself in hot water as the two women come forward with their stories and as he faces another controversy involving lying about the number of nursing home deaths in New York from COVID-19.