New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, as he battles the nursing home scandal, is also denying allegations from a former aide of past sexual harrassment — with a Cuomo spokeswoman flatly saying the claims aren’t true.
But Cuomo, in the past, has supported women who’ve made claims against men in power. In 2018, Cuomo said “we believe” the sexual assault allegations made by Christine Blasey Ford against then-Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh and called Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court a “sad day for our country.”
At the time, Cuomo used the moment to call on Americans to vote out Republicans. (Kavanaugh has long denied the claims.)
“The confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court is a sad day for this country, and it will haunt us for as long as he is on the court,” the Democratic governor said. “Today 50 senators put partisan politics over the sanctity of the highest court in the nation. In November, the American people get to respond and make their voices heard.
“To Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and all survivors of sexual assault, we believe you and we will fight for you. The sham FBI investigation and the bigger sham, this confirmation process, have energized us to fight even harder for our shared vision for a better future for all,” he continued.
Energized by the moment, Cuomo promised to “codify” Roe v. Wade, strengthen gun safety laws and expand access to health care. “While extreme conservatives in Washington try to take this nation backward, New York will lead the way forward,” he said.
In 2018, Kavanaugh’s confirmation prospects were thrown through a loop after Ford testified under oath that the judge sexually assaulted her at a 1982 party when they were high school students. Kavanaugh denied the claims, and Republicans accused Democrats of embracing unsubstantiated allegations to try to torpedo his nomination.
In a statement directed at then-President Donald Trump, Cuomo said he found Ford’s testimony “very compelling.” He pointed out that Ford, unlike Kavanaugh, had taken a polygraph test, and called on Trump to “insist” that the judge take a test.
“Here is one basic fact that badly hurts Judge Kavanaugh: Why won’t he take a polygraph? Dr. Ford did,” Cuomo said. “If he does not take a polygraph test, it is the ultimate, ‘he said, she said.’ It is the one powerful piece of evidence that seriously damages his credibility and the credibility of his Republican supporters, including yourself. You can and should ask him to take the test.”
Despite fiery opposition, Kavanaugh was confirmed in a 50-48 vote.
Lindsey Boylan, a former Cuomo aide and current candidate for Manhattan borough president, has accused the governor of various instances of sexual harassment and unwanted touching during her tenure in the administration. Boylan alleged that Cuomo asked her to play “strip poker” during a 2017 flight, kissed her on the lips during an encounter in his New York City office and “went out of his way” to touch her. She said that many women had expressed similar levels of discomfort at the governor’s behavior toward them.
Cuomo’s office could not be reached for comment on the difference between Ford’s allegation’s and Boylan’s.
Cuomo’s office has said the allegations are “quite simply false” and “did not happen.”
Boylan brought forward harassment allegations against Cuomo in December, but they are getting much more attention now with her new Medium post now that the governor has fallen out of favor for his handling of coronavirus amid reporting he directed the state to vastly undercount COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes that were likely a result of his early directive. The policy, revoked in May, had instructed nursing homes to take in COVID-positive patients in order to make room in hospitals.