Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is looking for support from the Black community amid allegations against him.
Cuomo is looking for support from his Black allies after several lawmakers spoke out against him. He recently visited a Harlem church to receive his COVID-19 vaccine, per The New York Times. A number of Black leaders are calling for further investigation amid the allegations instead of the resignation that some lawmakers are demanding.
The governor of New York is accused of sexual assault and holding back imperative COVID-19 death data.
“It strikes a nerve for African-Americans at a lot of levels,” said a longtime ally of Mr. Cuomo, Charlie King.
Read More: Cuomo’s office to investigate sexual misconduct claims: report
“I think for African-Americans, in general, we believe for a lot of reasons that this rush to judgment never works out well for people of color and we believe deeply in seeing how it plays out before you convict somebody.”
Cuomo was King’s running mate during his bid for governor in 2002.
The governor is popular among Black voters according to a poll by Siena College that says 70% of Black people believe he should not immediately resign. 50% of voters in total also say he should not resign.
Former President Bill Clinton used a similar strategy of rallying up Black supporters before he was impeached in the 1990s. But progressive Democrats like Jumaane Williams, New York City Public Advocate, do not support Cuomo.
“For me this is the last straw in a long line of wrongdoings for which the governor shouldn’t be governor,” said Mr. Williams.
Read More: NY vaccine leader called officials to determine loyalty to Cuomo amid allegations
But he also understands why some Black people support him.
“I think the Cuomo name has particular meaning in the Black community,” said Williams. “They’re also sensitive of being accused of things and not being able to defend yourself.”
Cuomo’s own office is opening an investigation into the allegations against him. As reported by theGrio, The Albany Times Union reported that the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations will inquire into the complaint.
“We have our own inquiries ongoing,” a senior aide to the governor told the Times Union. “We have an obligation to investigate any claim of sexual harassment. And we, after reporting (the female aide’s allegations) to the (attorney general), were directed to continue our own inquiry. … So there are multiple inquiries.”
The investigation by Cuomo’s office has been deemed a “parallel” investigation running concurrently with one being executed by Attorney General Letitia James. Her office has hired two private attorneys for the independent investigation. According to the report, James’ office did not respond to questions about the new inquiry.
In a statement, the acting counsel for the governor said, “We fully informed the (attorney general’s) office of the required process with this type of allegation and they said to follow it. The matter was referred to GOER (Governor’s Office of Employee Relations) and (we) informed local law enforcement and that is the full extent of the action.”
According to the report, the woman became emotional at work while watching Cuomo, during a press conference on March 3, when he denied touching any women “inappropriately.” The woman’s coworkers questioned her reaction and she reportedly told them about the alleged encounter with Cuomo.
One week later, the governor responded to questions from the Times Union newspaper saying, “As I said yesterday, I have never done anything like this. The details of this report are gut-wrenching. I am not going to speak to the specifics of this or any other allegation given the ongoing review, but I am confident in the result of the attorney general’s report.”
The newspaper notes that Cuomo and his aides have been careful to refer to the investigations as a “review” or “inquiry.”
Additional reporting by Biba Adams
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