Prominent Democratic women avoid questions on latest Cuomo accusations
Democrat claims to be 'not aware' of claims; FOX News national correspondent Bryan Llenas has more on 'America's Newsroom'
A growing number of New York lawmakers are calling for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign in the wake of a growing list of sexual misconduct allegations, but a number of leading female Democratic voices have remained silent on the issue.
While most of the allegations against Cuomo dealt with inappropriate comments or an unwanted kiss, the latest reported claims cross the line into possible sexual assault. Female leaders have been vocal about the need to believe women who made allegations, especially during the #MeToo movement. Now, the same voices have been hesitant to do the same.
Vice President Kamala Harris was a staunch critic of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh when he faced allegations of sexual misconduct during his confirmation process, and she even said she believed women who had accused President Biden of inappropriate touching in the past.
"I believe them, and I respect them being able to tell their story and having the courage to do it," Harris said about Biden's accusers.
So far, however, Harris has yet to weigh in on the Cuomo allegations, and she did not acknowledge a question about them as she walked out of the room after speaking to reporters Wednesday.
Harris' office did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., also strongly opposed Kavanaugh and called for him to be impeached over the allegations against him. She accused him of lying when he denied wrongdoing during his confirmation hearing.
The New York congresswoman did not take as strong a stance when then-candidate Joe Biden was accused of sexually assaulting Tara Reade, but she did state that there should not be a double standard for members of different parties.
"[I] we again want to have integrity, you can't say, you know – both believe women, support all of this, until it inconveniences you, until it inconveniences us," Ocasio-Cortez said in an April 2020 conversation with women's organization The Wing.
So far, Ocasio-Cortez has not weighed in on the new allegations from an anonymous staff member in Cuomo's administration who reportedly claimed that the governor groped her under her blouse. Her office did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
After former Cuomo stafffers Lindsey Boylan and Charlotte Bennett accused Cuomo of sexual harassment, Ocasio-Cortez stopped short of saying she believed the allegations, but she did say that the allegations were "extremely serious and painful to read" and that there "must be an independent investigation."
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., has also yet to comment on the latest allegations and did not respond when Fox News reached out. In the past, she believed that former Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton should have resigned over sexual misconduct allegations, she strongly opposed Kavanaugh, and she pushed for former Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., to resign after he was accused of misconduct.
Now, however, Gillibrand has spoken out against calls for Cuomo to resign.
"Asking every female elected in our state when a person should resign or not resign really isn’t the conversation we should be having," Gillibrand told Yahoo Finance on Tuesday. "The women in our state are not meant to be judges, jurors and executioners."
Gillibrand has supported an investigation into the allegations.
Former senator from New York Hillary Clinton has also yet to weigh in on the latest allegations and a spokesperson did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for a statement.
In 2015, Clinton had strong words regarding female survivors of sexual assault.
"To every survivor of sexual assault...You have the right to be heard. You have the right to be believed. We're with you," the former secretary of state said.
After the first five Cuomo accusers came forward, Clinton did say that their allegations were "difficult to read" and raised "serious questions that the women who have come forward and all New Yorkers deserve answers to."
Meanwhile, 85 members of the New York State Assembly and Senate have called for either Cuomo's resignation, impeachment, or both following the sexual misconduct allegations and the scandal surrounding his administration’s handling of nursing home deaths.
Should Cuomo resign, the new acting governor would be current Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul. Hochul has been a vocal supporter of women facing sexual harassment, but she has limited her statements about the Cuomo allegations to support for the investigation.
"I trust the inquiry to be completed as thoroughly and expeditiously as possible," Hochul said in a statement. "New Yorkers should be confident that through this process they will soon learn the facts."