In the wake of the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment, what do some of the nation’s leading liberal women have to say about the issue?
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, an outspoken supporter of women’s rights who had blasted former Senate colleague Al Franken, D-Minn., as he was ousted following his own misconduct allegations in 2018, did not respond to Fox News’ requests for comment on her home-state governor. She told reporters later Thursday, "These allegations are serious and deeply concerning and anyone has a right to come forward to be heard and to have allegations be investigated. Gov. Cuomo also has a right to be heard and he has come forward and has denied these allegations, but ultimately the decision will be up to the state Legislature."
"There is no prize for someone who tries to hold accountable a powerful man who is good at his day job," Gillibrand, D-N.Y., told a reporter in 2019, adding that one of Franken’s accusers was a staffer. "But we should have the courage to do it anyway."
Cuomo faced a storm of accusations this week of using his political clout to bully critics and staffers, following the explosion last week of a cover-up scandal surrounding the death toll of the coronavirus outbreak in New York’s nursing homes.
Cuomo's office has denied harassment allegations by former aide Lindsey Boylan.
But Cuomo was also accused by former journalist Morgan Pehme of threatening his career, and his former spokesperson Karen Hinton accused both Cuomo and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio of using "gender domination" to assert power over women.
The Sexual Harassment Working Group called for "an immediate independent investigation" of Cuomo.
The group was founded by seven former New York state legislature staffers in response to sexual harassment by legislators and their aides in Albany, the state's capital.
"There must be an immediate independent investigation into Governor Cuomo's workplace behavior, conducted by an entity over which Cuomo does not have any appointment or supervisory powers," the group said in a statement Wednesday.
"To those out there who are sitting with their own trauma, in any workplace, many of whom assuredly feel it closer to the surface over the past week, know this: We see you, even if you feel like you have to hide. We hear you, even if you feel voiceless," the group added.
Cuomo has also been accused of bullying by de Blasio and state Assemblyman Ron Kim, who has emerged as a leading Democratic critic of Cuomo’s handling of the nursing homes.
"He has abused his powers," Kim said on ABC’s "The View" last week. "And abusers are cowards."
The White House did not respond to requests for comment from Vice President Kamala Harris, who said during the 2020 Democratic presidential primary campaign that she believed women who had accused then-rival Joe Biden of inappropriate touching.
Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who last week joined GOP critics of Cuomo in calling for an investigation into the nursing home crisis, did not respond to Fox News' requests for comment.
The National Organization for Women also kept mum.
Zephyr Teachout, a lawyer who mounted a failed primary effort against Cuomo in 2014, has called for an investigation -- but she also said state prosecutors had "no serious existing investigative agency" to deal with such a probe.
Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy, an Albany Democrat, issued a statement Wednesday demanding "a timely and independent investigation."