A current aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, accused the embattled governor Friday of making suggestive remarks and engaging in other forms of alleged harassment, marking the latest allegation in a widening scandal that threatens to oust Cuomo from office.
The aide, identified as Alyssa McGrath, described several instances of alleged inappropriate behavior in an interview with the New York Times. She said Cuomo commented on her looks and ogled her body in the workplace.
Eight women, including current and former aides, have accused Cuomo of sexual harassment or misconduct. One woman, another current aide who has not been publicly identified, accused Cuomo of groping her during an encounter at the governor’s mansion. The unnamed aide’s allegation was first reported by the Albany Times-Union.
McGrath, 33, said the unnamed aide described her alleged encounter with Cuomo in detail after the Times-Union’s report was published. McGrath said the aide told her that Cuomo asked her not to discuss the incident because the two were acquainted.
“He told her specifically not to tell me,” McGrath told the New York Times.
McGrath alleged that Cuomo often pitted female coworkers against each other in the workplace. She described a series of uncomfortable interactions with the governor, some of which involved the coworker who has accused Cuomo of groping her.
McGrath’s claims matched those of other staffers who have accused Cuomo of fostering an uncomfortable or demeaning workplace environment for women.
“He has a way of making you feel very comfortable around him, almost like you’re his friend,” McGrath told the newspaper. “But then you walk away from the encounter or conversation, in your head going, ‘I can’t believe I just had that interaction with the governor of New York.’”
In one instance earlier this year, Cuomo allegedly asked the two women if they were planning to “mingle” with men during a planned trip to Florida. The governor purportedly referred to the women as “mingle mamas.”
McGrath alleged that Cuomo once called her beautiful in Italian during a 2019 encounter in his office. In another incident later that year, Cuomo purportedly stared down her shirt and commented on a necklace she was wearing during a dictation session in his office.
“I put my head down waiting for him to start speaking, and he didn’t start speaking,” McGrath said. “So I looked up to see what was going on. And he was blatantly looking down my shirt.”
Several top New York lawmakers, including Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, have called for Cuomo to resign amid the mounting allegations. Earlier this week, President Biden said Cuomo should resign if the allegations are confirmed and suggested the governor may eventually face criminal prosecution.
Cuomo has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and remained adamant that he will not resign. New York State Attorney General Letitia James and the New York State Assembly are actively investigating the claims.
An attorney for Cuomo told the New York Times that the governors’ actions, such as greeting people with a kiss on the cheek or using Italian phrases, were misinterpreted.
“None of this is remarkable, although it may be old-fashioned,” attorney Rita Glavin said. “He has made clear that he has never made inappropriate advances or inappropriately touched anyone.”
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