LANSING — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Sunday she had a “gut-wrenching” reaction to sexual harassment allegations against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the “very serious” allegations from former employees must be thoroughly and independently investigated.
“If accurate and true, I think we have to take action,” Whitmer said on “State of the Union” on CNN. She did not specify what action should ensue, but said: “Whatever is appropriate in terms of accountability should follow.”
Whitmer would not directly answer whether the allegations against Cuomo constitute sexual harassment. She said she did not want to get ahead of the investigation, but: “I had the same gut-wrenching reaction that I’m sure a lot of women in America did.”
Several women, including former employees of Cuomo, have accused him of making them feel uncomfortable with questions about their romantic lives and in some cases inappropriate touching.
Former adviser Lindsey Boylan, 36, said he made inappropriate comments on her appearance, once kissed her on the lips at the end of a meeting and suggested a game of strip poker as they sat with other aides on a jet flight. Another former aide, Charlotte Bennett, 25, said Cuomo asked if she ever had sex with older men and made other comments she interpreted as gauging her interest in an affair.
Cuomo has denied intentionally sexually harassing or inappropriately touching anyone but apologized for making anyone feel uncomfortable.
The state’s attorney general plans to hire an outside law firm to investigate the sexual harassment allegations. Some lawmakers have called for Cuomo to resign over his workplace behavior, and separate allegations that his administration misled the public about coronavirus fatalities in nursing homes.
Whitmer, a sexual assault survivor who spoke about her experience on the floor of the state Senate before she was elected governor in 2018, said “an impartial, thorough, independent investigation is merited and appropriate.” She added: “We need to take this seriously.”
During the presidential election campaign, last May, Whitmer expressed doubts about sexual assault allegations a former U.S. Senate aide made against President Joe Biden, who at the time was the presumed Democratic presidential nominee.
“The Joe Biden I know, these stories are inconsistent with what I know and what I’ve seen, in terms of work that he’s done to support women,” Whitmer, who served as a national co-chair of Biden’s campaign, said on ABC’s “Nightline,” when asked about the allegations made against Biden by Tara Reade.
USA Today contributed to this report.
Source: USA Today – Breaking News