The claim: Harris, Pelosi, AOC, Warren, Gillibrand have all remained silent on Cuomo sexual assault allegations
In the two weeks since, Lindsey Boylan, a former aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, detailed sexual harassment claims against the governor in a Medium article, several more women have come forward with their own allegations against Cuomo. Most recently, a member of the governor’s executive chamber, accused Cuomo of the same.
The allegations have put pressure on Democratic politicians to respond. Several have faced criticism, accused of applying a double standard. That includes Kirsten Gillibrand, who is often referred to as the #MeToo senator and was criticized and even abandoned by some donors after she swiftly called for the resignation of former Sen. Al Franken.
Now, a viral Facebook post, which has been shared over 900 times since a page called “Pedro the Political Awareness Penguin” posted it on March 6, echoes these criticisms. The post claims Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D- Mass., and Gillibrand, D-N.Y., House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Vice President Kamala Harris have not called for action to be taken in response to the allegations.
“New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is a sexual predator,” the post reads. “Yet Kamala Harris is silent. Nancy Pelosi is silent. AOC is silent. Elizabeth Warren is silent. Kirsten Gillibrand is silent. I guess #MeToo only counts if the accused is a Republican.”
The post is a screenshot of a viral tweet that Camryn Kinsey (@camrynbaylee) had posted on Feb. 25, which quickly gained traction on Twitter, collecting 11,100 retweets and 37,100 likes.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo denies accusations of sexual harassment. (Photo: Seth Wenig, AP)
USA TODAY reached out to the user who made the Facebook post for comment.
Who has commented?
While the claim was accurate at the time Kinsey tweeted it just one day after Boylan’s Medium article made headlines, it is now mostly false.
As the post states, Harris and Warren have not yet commented publicly on the allegations against Cuomo. However, the three other women named in the post have all made statements.
WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 19: Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) speaks during a Washington Post Live 2020 Candidates series event August 19, 2019 in Washington, DC. Gillibrand discussed her view on various topics including gender and race issues, gun control, healthcare, and immigration. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) (Photo: Alex Wong, Getty Images)
Gillibrand commented as early as Feb. 25, telling CBS 6 Albany that an investigation was merited by the allegation. “Everyone has a right to be heard and to speak their truth and have it be investigated,” she told CBS 6 Albany. “I think that’s something that will [be] up to the legislature to do that [sic].”
Pelosi and Ocasio-Cortez both called for an investigation on Feb. 28, the day that The New York Times published the story of Charlotte Bennett, the second former aide to accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment.
Ocasio-Cortez, who identified herself as a survivor of sexual assault in January, called the allegations “extremely serious.”
“Lindsey Boylan and Charlotte Bennett’s detailed accounts of sexual harassment by Gov. Cuomo are extremely serious and painful to read,” she tweeted on Feb 28. “There must be an independent investigation – not one led by an individual selected by the Governor, but by the office of the Attorney General.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez opened up about her traumatic Capitol riots experience during an Instagram Live. (Photo: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez via Storyful)
In a statement to the press on the same day, Pelosi called the charges “serious and credible” and called for an investigation, The Washington Post reported.
“The women who have come forward with serious and credible charges against Governor Cuomo deserve to be heard and to be treated with dignity. The independent investigation must have due process and respect for everyone involved.”
Gillibrand also formally called for an investigation on Feb. 28, The Nation reported.
Our rating: Partly false
We rate this post PARTLY FALSE. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vice President Kamala Harris have not commented on the current allegations of sexual harassment against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, as the post states. However, the three other Democratic politicians listed in the post, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand had publicly commented and called for an investigation into the claims when the March 6 post was made.
Our fact check sources:
- Tweet from user Camryn Kinsey, Feb. 25
- Axios, Feb. 28, “Cuomo scandal snares Dems on #MeToo “
- The Nation, March 1, “Governor Cuomo, Sexual Harassment, and Senator Gillibrand’s Silence”
- CBS 6 Albany, Feb. 25, “Sen. Gillibrand responds to criticism Democrats are protecting Cuomo on allegations “
- The Washington Post, Feb. 28, “Cuomo reverses course on sexual harassment investigation, offers apology”
- Tweet from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Feb. 28
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