Stefanik calls on Cuomo to resign over sexual harassment allegation
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Republican U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik called on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to “immediately resign” after a former Cuomo aide detailed sexual harassment allegations against him on Wednesday.
Lindsey Boylan, the former deputy secretary for economic development and special adviser to Cuomo, accused Cuomo in a new essay of unwanted kissing and touching. Boylan claimed Cuomo had staffers arrange meetings with her, where he made inappropriate comments.
“Let’s play strip poker,” Boylan said Cuomo remarked on a flight from an event in October 2017, according to an essay she wrote on Medium published Wednesday.
Cuomo’s office did not respond to Fox News’ numerous requests for comment — but a Cuomo spokesperson previously said in December when Boylan first went public, “There is simply no truth to these claims.”
Boylan could not be reached by Fox News on Wednesday.
Boylan first accused Cuomo of sexual harassment last year, but did not elaborate at the time.
In a statement Wednesday, Stefanik, R-N.Y., on Wednesday slammed Cuomo saying he “has earned his title as Worst Governor in America, and now every New Yorker knows that he is a criminal sexual predator.”
“On December 14th, I was one of the first and one of the only elected officials in New York State to call for an investigation into Governor Cuomo’s sexual harassment of Ms. Boylan,” Stefanik said Wednesday. “It is an inexcusable disgrace that almost every other elected official in New York State quietly brushed this serious and credible allegation under the rug.”
Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y. (Getty Images)
She added: “Sadly, much of the media in the state either ignored this matter or chose to report the sexist character and professional smears of Ms. Boylan by Governor Cuomo’s taxpayer-funded staff.”
Stefanik said that she served in Congress during the height of the #MeToo movement, leading to resignations and retirements of her colleagues.
“Sexual harassment and sexual abuse in the workplace is not a political issue, it is about right and wrong,” Stefanik said. “Governor Cuomo must immediately resign. And any elected official who does not immediately call for his resignation is complicit in allowing a sexual predator to continue leading the great state of New York.”
Boylan accused Cuomo of harassment in December.
Boylan, describing an encounter in December 2016, said Cuomo arranged through a handler to meet her in his Albany office, to which she agreed reluctantly. She said he gave her a tour of his office, “smirked” and showed off a cigar box he said was given to him by former President Bill Clinton while he served as the secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
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Boylan said she interpreted that to be an innuendo referencing the affair between Clinton and his then-intern Monica Lewinsky in the mid-1990s.
She said she was warned by other staffers when she joined Cuomo’s administration in 2015 to “be careful around the Governor.”
Boylan said his behavior “was all so normalized — particularly by Melissa DeRosa and other top women around him — that only now do I realize how insidious his abuse was.”
She also alleged that shortly before the office incident, that made her feel uncomfortable, Stephanie Benton, director of the governor’s offices, told her in an email that Cuomo suggested she look up images of Lisa Shields — his rumored former girlfriend — because “we could be sisters” and told Boylan she was “the better looking sister.”
“The Governor began calling me ‘Lisa’ in front of colleagues. It was degrading,” Boylan wrote, including screenshots of the email exchange between her and Benton.
Boylan said in another incident, this time in Cuomo’s New York City office, he kissed her on the lips.
“I was in shock, but I kept walking,” Boylan wrote.
“The idea that someone might think I held my high-ranking position because of the Governor’s ‘crush’ on me was more demeaning than the kiss itself.”
She wrote in her Wednesday essay that she expects “the Governor and his top aides will attempt to further disparage me, just as they’ve done with Assemblymember Kim” — who came forward in recent weeks with his own accusations against the governor of bullying and threatening him.
The recently detailed allegations by Boylan come as Cuomo faces intense scrutiny and pressure to resign following explosive revelations that his administration concealed accurate nursing home death counts in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, stonewalling a federal investigation by the Justice Department into elder care facilities in four states, including New York.
Several ongoing investigations continue to probe the impact of Cuomo’s directive last March for nursing homes to admit COVID-19 patients, resulting in thousands of deaths in assisted living facilities.
Fox News’ Vandana Rambaran contributed to this report.
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