They’re not silent anymore: an increasingly vocal chorus of critics on both sides of the political aisle slammed Gov. Cuomo Saturday as news spread that a second former aide has accused him of sexual harassment.
Everyone from familiar GOP foes to his own second in command spoke up in favor of an independent investigation after Charlotte Bennett, 25, came forward to The New York Times to describe Cuomo’s allegedly creepy behavior.
At least one state senator didn’t mince words.
“@NYGovCuomo, you are a monster, and it is time for you to go. Now,” wrote state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, a Democrat from The Bronx.
Most were more measured, including Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.
“As I previously stated, all allegations of harassment must be taken seriously. A truly independent investigation is warranted,” Heastie said.
Senate leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins called the new allegations “deeply disturbing and concerning. The behavior described has no place in the workplace.”
In her first words on the intensifying scandal, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul also called for an independent review.
“Everyone deserves to have their voice heard and taken seriously,” she said.
Hochul was notably mum earlier this week as another former aide, Lindsey Boylan, revealed the governor allegedly suggested playing “strip poker” with her during an October 2017 flight on his state jet.
Cuomo has not denied the allegations, noted New York City Mayoral candidate Maya Wiley.
“I am disgusted. I believe Charlotte Bennett,” she said in a statement, adding, “Senior officials in the Governor’s office were aware of his behavior … What happened to these complaints? Why was no further action taken? How many other times has this happened?”
State Sen. Todd Kaminsky, a Democrat and former federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, also spoke up for the first time on Cuomo’s accusers.
“This pattern of behavior requires a swift and immediate, independent investigation, the leader of which must be empowered to access all evidence,” Kaminsky said in a statement.
State Sen. James Skoufis, a Democrat who heads the Committee on Investigations and who has come under fire for failing to issue subpoenas to Cuomo and his staff over the nursing home scandal, called the allegations “deeply disturbing” and called for “an independent, outside, expeditious investigation … completely independent of potential influence and politics.”
Sonia Ossorio, head of the New York chapter of the National Organization for Women, also wants an independent inquiry “free of political pressure,” she said in the group’s first statement on the governor’s troubles.
Five female Republican senators, Pam Helming, Daphne Jordan, Patty Ritchie, Sue Serino and Alexis Weik, along with Nick Langworthy, head of the state Republican Party, called on Attorney General Letitia James to investigate.
“His alleged predatory actions are egregious and if the account is accurate, they have crossed the line. Within a single week, two brave individuals have come forward to share their stories of working for this man,” the senators said in a statement. “Gov. Cuomo now more than ever must be investigated.”
“We don’t need another one of his infamous whitewashed reports,” said Langworthy. “We have an independently elected AG for a reason – Attorney General Tish James needs to do her job.”
James’ office did not return a request for comment.
Cuomo’s office has appointed former Manhattan federal judge, Barbara S. Jones, who was appointed to the bench in 1995 by President Bill Clinton, to lead an inquiry.
New York Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-Glens Falls) slammed Cuomo for appointing his own investigator.
“New Yorkers see right through this. Criminal sexual predators do NOT get to announce their own ‘review’ & appoint who will conduct it,” she tweeted Saturday night. “This needs to be immediately renounced by every elected official in NY as yet another desperate Cuomo coverup.”
In a statement, she added, “I was one of the first and one of the only elected officials to call on the Governor to resign on Dec 14th. Today, it’s time for other New York State leaders to grow a spine. The New York Times article recounting Governor Cuomo’s sickening workplace sexual harassment and grooming of Ms. Bennett is so horrific it makes your skin crawl.”