The co-founders of Axios say Democrats should all be calling for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D., to resign if they want to meet their own standards for Republicans facing accusations of sexual harassment.
“Gov. Andrew Cuomo should be facing explicit calls to resign from President Biden on down, if you apply the standard that Democrats set for similar allegations against Republicans. And it’s not a close call,” Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen wrote on Wednesday.
Cuomo has been accused by three women, including two former aides, of harassment or inappropriate advances. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., a Cuomo ally who led the charge to oust former Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., over sexual misconduct accusations in 2017, has this time been more restrained and called for an investigation of the claims.
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Gillibrand and other Senate Democrats sought to derail Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation process in 2018 over the sexual assault accusation against him; a common talking point at the time was Kavanaugh was not in a “court of law” but rather conducting a “job interview” and the appearance of impropriety was enough to disqualify him.
VandeHei and Allen said the only defense Democrats had was to argue the three women were exaggerating or forgetting things.
“The #MeToo moment saw men in power run out of town for exploiting young women,” VandeHei and Allen wrote.
“Democrats led the charge. So the silence of so many of them seems more strange — and unacceptable by their own standards — by the hour. Their only plausible explanation would be to argue that three women are exaggerating or misremembering things. This is precisely what Democrats said was unacceptable in GOP cases.”
President Biden, who also used the “job interview” talking point about Kavanaugh in 2018, supports the independent investigation of the allegations against Cuomo, the White House said this week.
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In a conditional apology, Cuomo portrayed some of his past behavior as misinterpreted jokes, which angered one of his accusers, Charlotte Bennett.
“As we know, abusers — particularly those with tremendous amounts of power — are often repeat offenders who engage in manipulative tactics to diminish allegations, blame victims, deny wrongdoing and escape consequences,” Bennett said in a statement.
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Some New York Democratic lawmakers have called for Cuomo to resign, including Rep. Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, D., a longtime foe, said Cuomo “cannot govern” if the claims are true.