Governor Andrew Cuomo‘s staffers have stopped showing up for work as the embattled New York lawmaker now faces allegations of sexual harassment from seven women, according to reports.
The New York Post said Saturday that the governor’s office in the Capitol on Albany is empty; that staffers believe he should resign; and ‘virtually all’ of Cuomo’s employees believe his accusers.
A source told the Post that Cuomo’s refusal to resign is ‘torture’ and that they believe it has come to a point where President Joe Biden, a long-time ally and friend, will have to force the governor to concede.
Another source reports that anger has flared among staffers after Cuomo, 63, blasted the demands for him to quit on Friday as ‘cancel culture’, as they accuse him of being a ‘fake tough guy’.
According to earlier reports, at least five Cuomo staffers have left in the past week.
Governor Andrew Cuomo’s staffers have stopped showing up for work as the embattled New York lawmaker now faces allegations of sexual harassment from seven women. He is pictured above on Friday in the governor’s residence where he is spending the weekend
The New York Post said Saturday that the governor’s office in the Capitol on Albany is empty; that staffers believe he should resign; and ‘virtually all’ of Cuomo’s employees believe his accusers. Pictured: The Blue Room, often used for Cuomp’s live press conferences is seen empty inside the New York State Capitol on Friday
The entrance to the Executive Chamber inside the New York State Capitol is pictured on Friday. The building was almost empty as the Governor remains plagued by scandal
A shuttered news stand sits empty inside the New York State Capitol, following allegations that Gov Cuomo had sexually harassed young women
A New York State Trooper stands at the entrance to the Executive Chamber inside the New York State Capitol. Cuomo’s staffers have reportedly stopped showing up at work
Anger has reportedly flared among staffers after Cuomo, 63, blasted the demands for him to quit on Friday as ‘cancel culture’, as they accuse him of being a ‘fake tough guy’. Pictured: the near empty State Capitol on Friday
Cuomo’s staff are allegedly avoiding the offices. Pictured, the NY Governor’s mansion.
‘I hear that most people aren’t even coming into work, and the offices at the Capitol are empty,’ an insider told the Post.
‘He’ll fight and fight and fight, but the staffers I’ve talked to are ready for him to hang up the gloves. Everyone feels like there is an inevitable conclusion — I mean at some point will Biden call on him to step down? They [staffers] just want this torture to stop.’
‘I feel a level of rage toward this fake tough guy,’ another former aide told the publication.
‘The guy thinks he’s the toughest, the hardest working, he’s the smartest. The truth is, he’s anything but. He’s the weakest, he’s the dumbest, and he’s the most shallow of them all. He is genuinely a very small man who pretends to be big.’
The ex-aide also said that staffers are choosing to work from vaccination sites or from home rather than go into the executive offices as the scandals around Cuomo appear to have reached a breaking point.
‘Sometimes you have an ability to claim to be out in the field,’ the ex-aide said of the staffers, who are now concerned about the future of their jobs.
The source told the Post that many had seen the light at the end of the tunnel after a year of working around the clock as the state responded to the coronavirus pandemic, but now some feel that their futures are in jeopardy.
Despite the fear over their jobs, many staffers are eager for Cuomo to hurry up and step aside, the sources said, as they feel he is guilty of the accusations of harassment, abuse, and bullying.
One of the sources allegedly showed the Post a text from a current staffer which read: ‘He has to resign now right? (I say for the 15th time this week).’
It comes as the backlash against Cuomo continues amid the sexual harassment and nursing home COVID death scandals. Pictured, protestors outside the NY Capitol on Friday
Staffers have claimed they believe the conversation with Cuomo’s second accuser Charlotte Bennett, pictured, happened. She has accused him of attempts to groom her
The alleged interactions happened when Bennett worked for the governor last year
‘There’s a deep sense within the governor’s staff that he is guilty of everything, and that is weighing on people,’ the ex-aide said.
‘He had that conversation with Charlotte Bennett. Everyone knows that. Everyone believes that full stop and there’s not a single person who believes she’s telling a word that’s off.’
They were referencing the claims made by Cuomo’s second accuser, 25-year-old former aide Bennett, who has accused him of attempting to groom her by questioning if she dated older men and speaking about the previous abuse she has suffered.
The alleged interactions happened when she worked for the governor last year.
‘If that were anyone else — that conversation has to happen once for you to be fired … and he doesn’t seem to understand why that was an evil conversation, emblematic of a methodical approach to take advantage of her,’ the ex-aide added.
The Cuomo’s staffers who remain working and making calls on behalf of his office have also been having a hard time, as respect for the governor across the state has dropped given the increasing number of women speaking out.
‘The nature of the calls in Cuomo world have changed. The leverage has completely shifted,’ the former aide told the Post.
‘It always felt like, when Cuomo’s people call, you must figure out how you are going to try to meet the demand in some form or fashion.
‘Now, they call, and there’s almost an eagerness to say ‘F–k you’ without hesitation … and the staff has to say they get it,’ they added.
Cuomo was laying low in the governor’s residence for the weekend, pictured Friday
Cuomo was pictured at the governor’s residence Friday after refusing to resign
In response to the claims made by the former staffers, Cuomo’s top aide Rich Azzopardi pushed back and said that employee departures were ‘greatly exaggerated’.
‘There’s a budget to be done in two weeks, the largest vaccination effort is state history to stand up and the continued efforts to successfully fight this once in a century pandemic and that’s what the hard-working members of this administration and the state workforce are focused on — period,’ he told the Post.
Among the top names to leave Cuomo’s office in the past week were health care data analyst Erin Hammond and one of Cuomo’s schedulers, Sophie Boldison.
The highest to leave so far was Gareth Rhodes, a top coronavirus aide.
He exited after a guest from his wedding went public with allegations that Cuomo sexually harassed her at the reception afterward.
Anna Ruch, 33, was the third woman to accuse Cuomo, telling the New York Times that he came on to her, grabbed her face and kissed her on the cheek after officiating at the 2019 wedding of Rhodes and Alexa Kissinger.
Anna Ruch, 33, was the third woman to accuse Cuomo. She claimed he harassed her at the wedding reception for Cuomo aide Gareth Rhodes, who left his the governor’s administration last week
Kissinger and Ruch were both Obama staffers.
There was a photo of the incident which showed Cuomo towering over Ruch as he holds her head with both hands. She looks at him with apprehension.
The rush of employees leaving Cuomo’s office and reluctance of those remaining to present themselves in the Capitol also comes after 30 women spoke to New York Magazine Friday about the alleged toxic and abusive work environment that led to at least one woman calling a suicide hotline.
Multiple others began to take anti-depressants and go to therapy for the first time while working there.
Several claimed that women were expected to wear high heels and nice dresses for the governor, a claim which a spokesperson has also denied.
On Friday night, New York senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand were the latest to call for Cuomo’s resignation after a stunning series of defections left the high-profile Democrat fighting for his political survival, angry and alone.
‘Due to the multiple, credible sexual harassment and misconduct allegations, it is clear that Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of his governing partners and the people of New York,’ the Democratic senators wrote in a joint statement. ‘Governor Cuomo should resign.’
The senators’ statement, which cited the pandemic as a reason for needing ‘sure and steady leadership,’ came shortly after Schumer stood alongside Biden at a Rose Garden ceremony celebrating the passage of the Democrat-backed $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill.
By day’s end, the three-term governor had lost the support of almost the entire 29-member New York congressional delegation and a majority of Democrats in the state legislature.
Cuomo was pictured covered in a blanket as he walked outside the governor’s residence on the phone with his daughter and dog on Friday night as he remained defiant that he was going nowhere.
A protestor sits outside the New York State Capitol, following allegations that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo had sexually harassed young women on Friday
Protesters gathered outside the New York state Capitol on Friday to demonstrate against Governor Cuomo, the nursing home scandal and the allegations of sexual harassment
Earlier in the day Cuomo had condemned his Democratic detractors as ‘reckless and dangerous.’
‘I did not do what has been alleged. Period,’ he said, before evoking a favorite grievance of former President Donald Trump. ‘People know the difference between playing politics, bowing to cancel culture and the truth.’
Never before has the brash, 63-year-old Democratic governor, who had been expected to run for a fourth term in 2022, been more politically isolated.
Some in Cuomo’s party had already turned against him for his administration’s move to keep secret how many nursing home residents died of COVID-19 for months, and the latest wave of defections signaled a possible tipping point.
Cuomo on Friday insisted that he never touched anyone inappropriately and said again that he´s sorry if he ever made anyone uncomfortable. He declined to answer a direct question about whether he’s had a consensual romantic relationship with any of the accusers.
‘I have not had a sexual relationship that was inappropriate, period,’ he said.
Showing no signs of bowing to the pressure, Cuomo raised new questions about the motives of the accusers.
‘I won’t speculate about people´s possible motives,’ he said Friday.
‘But I can tell you as a former attorney general who has gone through this situation many times, there are often many motivations for making an allegation. And that is why you need to know the facts before you make a decision.
‘Serious allegations should be weighed seriously, right?’ he added. ‘That´s why they are called serious.’