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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is reportedly on Vice President Joe Biden’s shortlist for U.S. attorney general. It’s hard to imagine that Cuomo could be rewarded after he completely botched New York State’s COVID-19 response and sent thousands of elderly patients to their deaths with his disastrous nursing home policy in the early months of the pandemic.
While Cuomo’s incompetence doesn’t seem to be a dealbreaker for Biden, the question we now need to ask is whether new allegations from a former advisor might thwart Cuomo’s career advancement.
Lindsey Boylan, a former aide to Governor Cuomo who worked in his administration from March 2015 to October 2018, has come forward about her experiences working for him, and they’re troubling, to say the least. On December 5, she claimed on Twitter that the “most toxic team environment” she experienced was working for Governor Cuomo.
“If people weren’t deathly afraid of him, they’d be saying the same thing and you’d already know the stories,” she said. “Seriously, the messages and texts I receive when I speak the truth about this…it’s a whole book of people who have been harmed.”
“Don’t be surprised that it’s the same small group of white people sitting alongside him at every presser,” she continued. “The same group that he has had by him the whole time, doing his dirty work. If you’re not one of those handful, your life working for him is endlessly dispiriting.”
“That environment is beyond toxic. I’m still unwrapping it years later in therapy!” she said.
She also claims she tried to quit three times “before it stuck,” and she suggests she was asked to sign a nondisclosure agreement upon leaving, which she refused to do.
In a statement to the New York Post, Boylan stood by the claims she made on Twitter. “I stand by what I said, and what I said speaks to not only my story, but countless others, predominately women I’ve interacted with or heard from over the years.”
Cuomo’s office did not respond to the Post‘s requests for comment on the allegations.
Earlier this year, Boylan ran for Congress in New York’s 10th Congressional District in an unsuccessful primary challenge to incumbent Jerry Nadler.
On Sunday, Boylan elaborated more on the toxic work environment she experienced working for Cuomo on Twitter, and accused the governor of sexually harassing her “for years” in a multi-tweet thread:
My first experience of workplace sexual harassment was when my mom got her first real office job after graduating from college when I was in high school. She was so excited to be taken “seriously.” Her bossed isolated her and kissed her. She never had that type of job again.
It was then how I learned how hard it is for women. How hard this world can be for us when we are trying to be taken seriously and help our community. How easily jerks can destroy the lives of women.
And I promised myself I would never let those kind of guys win. I would work hard my whole life to put myself in positions of power to change things. To end the violence & corruption. Give voice to the voiceless. I am not stopping. I refuse. I will never give up.
Yes, @NYGovCuomo sexually harassed me for years. Many saw it, and watched. I could never anticipate what to expect: would I be grilled on my work (which was very good) or harassed about my looks. Or would it be both in the same conversation? This was the way for years.
Not knowing what to expect what’s the most upsetting part aside from knowing that no one would do a damn thing even when they saw it. No one. And I *know* I am not the only woman.
I’m angry to be put in this situation at all. That because I am a woman, I can work hard my whole life to better myself and help others and yet still fall victim as countless women over generations have. Mostly silently. I hate that some men, like @NYGovCuomo abuse their power.
Boylan says she has “no interest in talking to journalists” about her allegations, and that her purpose is “about validating the experience of countless women and making sure abuse stops.”
Another former aide to Governor Cuomo was extremely critical of him in a November 26 essay in The Nation titled “The Collapse of the Cuomosexual,” though she did not make any claims of being sexually harassed by the governor.
Whether or not more women come forward could determine if Cuomo remains on Biden’s shortlist for U.S. attorney general, a position requiring Senate confirmation.
Joe Biden himself is no stranger to being accused of sexual impropriety, even sexual assault. Eight women have come forward over the years accusing Joe Biden of inappropriate behavior, including Tara Reade, who says Joe Biden sexually assaulted her in a hallway while she was a staffer in his Senate office in 1993. The credibility of her claims was boosted by an unearthed clip of her mother calling into the Larry King Live show and anonymously asking the panel for advice on how to handle a situation with her daughter and a prominent U.S. senator. Her story was also corroborated by two witnesses who say Reade told them about the incident after it happened, and court documents from her 1996 divorce also confirmed that she told her husband about the incident as well.
So, while such accusations might be disqualifying, Cuomo and Biden appear to be cut from the same cloth, and perhaps these allegations will do nothing to hurt his chances of being picked as the nation’s top law enforcement officer.