New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is once again refusing to resign. While this is hardly news, he said something Friday afternoon that suggests there’s a lot more to this story than has been reported, and Cuomo himself knows it.
“I never harassed anyone, I never abused anyone, I never assaulted anyone, and I never would,” he said after his COVID-19 briefing. “I’m not going to resign. I was not elected by politicians. I was elected by the people.”
Former aides have accused Cuomo of making suggestive comments, inappropriate touching, and even groping. But, today, he made a very curious statement, claiming, “What is being alleged just did not happen. I have not had a sexual relationship that was inappropriate. Period.”
As of yet, no one has come forward alleging that she had a sexual relationship with the governor, and one cannot help but wonder why he would say, “I have not had a sexual relationship that was inappropriate,” rather than repeat his typical line that he never acted inappropriately.
Is Cuomo suggesting that he has, in fact, had a sexual relationship with a subordinate in the executive office or perhaps elsewhere in state government?
Cuomo was asked by a reporter to clarify whether he ever considered himself to be in a consensual relationship with a staffer, in which that staffer may have interpreted that relationship as harassment. In response, the governor insisted that his statements have been clear. He did not directly answer the question.
I’m not a betting person, but if I was, I would bet a lot of money that we will soon be hearing from staffers claiming to have had a sexual relationship with the governor.
Otherwise, he would have said, “I have not had a sexual relationship with a member of my staff.” By saying, “I have not had a sexual relationship that was inappropriate,” the governor is relying on the subjectivity of the definition of what is appropriate to vindicate him. Unfortunately for him, that is unlikely to stave off criticism, should such a relationship be revealed, as many believe a position of power makes any relationship between a governor and a staffer inappropriate.
In the wake of the #MeToo movement, Monica Lewinsky spoke out about the “inappropriate abuse of authority” between her and President Clinton, and lamented her lack of a place in the movement. “There are even some people who feel my White House experiences don’t have a place in this movement, as what transpired between Bill Clinton and myself was not sexual assault, although we now recognize that it constituted a gross abuse of power,” the former White House intern wrote in Vanity Fair in 2018.
“I now see how problematic it was that the two of us even got to a place where there was a question of consent,” she continued. “Instead, the road that led there was littered with inappropriate abuse of authority, station, and privilege.”
“I’m beginning (just beginning) to consider the implications of the power differentials that were so vast between a president and a White House intern,” she added.
Cuomo seems to be suggesting that he’s had at least one (if not more) sexual relationships with subordinates that were, at least from his perspective, consensual, even though such a relationship, especially in the post-#MeToo era, would actually be deemed inappropriate by default because of his position as the powerful governor of one of the most populous states in the nation. It’s no stretch of the imagination to think that a staffer may have “consented” to a relationship out of fear of reprisal from the governor—which is hardly something the governor wouldn’t do.
Cuomo’s predicament just got a lot more interesting.
Matt Margolis is the author of Airborne: How The Liberal Media Weaponized The Coronavirus Against Donald Trump, and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter, Gab, Facebook, MeWe, Heroes, Rumble, and CloutHub.