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Cuomo harassment scandal poses fresh #MeToo test for Democrats

Of any Democratic senator requested concerning the difficulty, Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) went the furthest. Though she put belief within the lawyer basic’s investigation, she steered that “there might come a tipping level with regard to Gov. Cuomo the place he ought to resign.”

The #MeToo motion that erupted right into a nationwide confrontation of sexual harassment in 2017, fueled partially by Donald Trump’s election, ended the careers of members of Congress in each events. Maybe nobody grew to become a much bigger image of the Democratic Celebration’s try and enact a political zero tolerance coverage for sexual harassment than Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who resigned after seven girls accused him of touching them inappropriately. However senators view the allegations towards Cuomo in another way than these towards Franken, who was a colleague.

Whereas Cuomo is well-known and will run for larger workplace, senators are largely leaving it as much as New York state officers to resolve the governor’s political destiny.

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“I’m glad there’s going to be a really rigorous investigation by the lawyer basic. Crucial factor is that the ladies be heard and brought critically,” mentioned Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.). As as to if Cuomo ought to step down, she mentioned: “At this level I believe folks in New York have to resolve that.”

Democrats additionally decried allegations of sexual assault towards Justice Brett Kavanaugh throughout his Supreme Courtroom affirmation combat, however that scenario was much more distinct: Kavanaugh was a nominee that they’d an obligation to vet.

“One of many baselines is that claims like this needs to be investigated. You now have an investigation in New York by the lawyer basic, and I assume she’s going to make suggestions,” mentioned Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.). “So the distinction is — Al by no means bought that.”

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) predicted Cuomo was a “goner,” however in contrast the governor’s scenario to Franken’s this fashion: “The Senate polices its personal.”

New York’s two Democratic senators, Majority Chief Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, have strongly endorsed the lawyer basic’s investigation into Cuomo. Though Cuomo mentioned he plans to cooperate with the investigation and apologized for making the ladies uncomfortable, the governor made clear Wednesday that he has no intention of resigning. Along with sexual harassment allegations, Cuomo additionally faces an investigation into his dealing with of nursing residence deaths through the pandemic.

To this point, Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) is the one member of the state’s delegation to name for Cuomo’s resignation. Rice urged Franken to step down throughout his personal #MeToo flap in 2017 days earlier than Gillibrand grew to become the primary senator to name on her colleague to depart workplace.

Different members, together with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-N.Y.), are ready for the investigation to play out. Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.) informed reporters that she is “a extremely huge fan of due course of,” whereas Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) described the difficulty as a “very, very critical factor.”

The allegations towards Cuomo started final week, when his former aide, Lindsey Boylan, wrote an essay that accused the governor of asking her to play strip poker and of forcibly kissing her on the lips. Days later, a second former aide, Charlotte Bennett, mentioned that Cuomo requested her about her intercourse life, together with whether or not she’d take into account having intercourse with older males. A 3rd girl, Anna Ruch, got here ahead this week and mentioned Cuomo requested her if he might kiss her at a marriage reception.

“Any public official has to comprehend that what they are saying within the office is topic to scrutiny,” mentioned Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), who declined to weigh in on Cuomo’s future. “In these cases, these girls are having a tough time and are beneath numerous stress coming ahead. They usually’ve bought to be heard. It’s greater than only a evaluation of actions. Issues that you just say are related.”

Some within the GOP see a double normal in Democrats’ therapy of Cuomo in contrast with different high-profile misconduct allegations, though Trump confronted greater than 20 allegations of sexual harassment and assault, which Republicans not often addressed. The previous president has denied any wrongdoing.

Even so, outdoors of Schumer and Gilibrand, a number of Senate Democrats mentioned that they don’t seem to be paying a lot consideration to the Cuomo controversy and confirmed little eagerness to speak about it.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) mentioned he didn’t reside in New York and has “zero ideas.” Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) mentioned she is concentrated on President Joe Biden’s coronavirus aid plan. When requested for remark, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ailing.) mentioned he had the “the identical one everybody else is making: full the investigation.”

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One senator, addressing the thorny subject on situation of anonymity, mentioned that Democrats have been reluctant to publicly name on Cuomo to resign regardless of having no tolerance for sexual harassment allegations as a result of it’s an argument in one other state. Constituents don’t need senators meddling in different states’ enterprise, the senator added.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who berated Democrats for their therapy of Kavanaugh throughout his affirmation, mentioned that his colleagues are “wrapped across the axle.”

“They had been loud, vocal, ‘Kavanaugh must go’,” Graham mentioned. “Now they bought any person, a outstanding Democrat, and so they’re determining tips on how to deal with it. Right here’s my recommendation: Deal with all of them the identical. That manner you don’t have to fret about it.”

Anna Gronewold contributed to this report.

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