Amid an avalanche of sexual harassment and bullying claims levelled against embattled Governor Andrew Cuomo, a leaked throwback audio shows him not mincing words in lambasting his critics, reports Fox News.
A New York Times podcast on 19 March expanded on its earlier reported text of a telephone conversation in 2018 between Cuomo and Bill Lipton, the head of the Working Families Party.
The February report revealed that Cuomo’s interactions with staff often resulted in altercations and intimidation, while those outside the governor’s direct control claimed the executive was not averse to wielding threats when opposed, telling them they would be in the crosshairs of negative news stories or otherwise politically challenged.
Accordingly, the outlet had cited two people who alleged that in 2018, after Cuomo was told by the leader of the Working Families Party (WFP) that it would endorse him in the general election because he was ‘better than a Republican’, the governor’s response was to say:
“If you ever say, ‘Well he’s better than a Republican’ again, then I’m going to say, ‘You’re better than a child rapist’.”
During the Democratic primary in 2018, the WFP had backed "Sex and the City" actress Cynthia Nixon over Andrew Cuomo, yet after Nixon lost, it switched to backing the New York governor in the general election in November. The party ostensibly perceived Andrew Cuomo as an alternative preferable to Republican Marc Molinaro.
The report in The New York Times was slammed by Cuomo’s office as false.
However, Friday’s "Daily" podcast published what is purported was a leaked audio of that call, to confirm that Cuomo had threatened his critic over the political dispute.
In the call, according to the audio, Lipton concedes that the two men have differences and it’s okay to clarify them.
“You’re free to say whatever you want, governor, but I just want to be clear. Our line is going to be that we have differences with you, but our differences with Republicans are far greater," Bill Lipton is heard saying, according to the outlet.
In response, Andrew Cuomo proceeds to vocalise his threat: "I think you’re better than a child rapist."
A spokesman for the governor was cited by Fox News as saying Andrew Cuomo did not recall the exchange with Lipton.
"This three-year-old conversation happened after a very contentious political campaign where things were charged on all sides. He doesn't remember it occurring, but from how it has been described he was clearly being hyperbolic to illustrate the offensive nature of the WFP's own name calling," Rich Azzopardi said in a statement to Fox News.
NY Governor in the Crosshairs
The new report adds to the growing list of sexual harassment and bullying accusations targeting the New York governor. At least eight women claim to have been the victims of Cuomo’s sexual misconduct.
Andrew Cuomo is also in the crosshairs over a coronavirus pandemic-linked scandal, with his office accused of covering up the true number of nursing home deaths after a controversial policy that demanded nursing facilities accept COVID-positive patients released from hospitals.
Amid the chorus of voices on both sides of the political spectrum urging he step down, Andrew Cuomo has refused to resign and vehemently rejects all accusations.
To date, New York's legislative leaders have yet to offer clarification regarding plans to launch an impeachment investigation of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, reported the Independent.
Assembly Democratic Speaker Carl Heastie announced the inquiry into the governor last week, yet the judiciary committee of the Assembly, New York's lower legislative chamber, has yet to meet on the issue.
Cuomo's conduct with women is also the subject of an investigation overseen by state Attorney General Letitia James.
58% said #Cuomo tried to mislead NYers about nursing homes deaths as in lied about them. New York State (NY) Poll - March 18, 2021 - Support Dips For Cuomo Staying | Quinnipiac University Connecticut https://t.co/Xh6wOG2yPK— Karen Hinton (@KarenHinton) March 20, 2021
Meanwhile, a new Quinnipiac University poll of 905 registered voters found that while 43 percent believe Andrew Cuomo should resign, 36 percent of women polled said he should quit, and 23 percent of Democrats.