It was only a few years ago that Democrats championed the #MeToo and #BelieveAllWomen movements. However, there is a new motto according to one Democratic leader: Believe all women – as long as there are more than three accusers.
You may have learned that "three is the magic number" from "Schoolhouse Rock," but New York Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D) declares that four is the magic number when it comes to the number of women coming forward with allegations of sexual harassment by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D).
This week, a third woman accused Cuomo of sexual harassment. Anna Ruch, a former Obama administration employee and Biden 2020 campaign staffer, claimed that Cuomo touched her bare back after meeting the New York governor at a wedding in 2019. He also touched her face and allegedly asked Ruch if he could kiss her, she told the New York Times.
Lindsey Boylan, a former Cuomo staffer, claims that the Democratic governor asked his aides to play strip poker, as well as kissed her on the lips and touched her legs without consent.
Charlotte Bennett, a 25-year-old former Cuomo aide, said he sexually harassed her and was grooming her. "He asked me if I believed if age made a difference in relationships and he also asked me in the same conversation if I had ever been with an older man," Bennett said.
Despite the three credible accusers with evidence, Stewart-Cousins said there would need to be at least a fourth accuser for her to call on Cuomo to resign.
Stewart-Cousins appeared Thursday on the Albany public affairs television program, "Capital Tonight," where she was asked what it would take for her to call for the resignation of Cuomo.
"Any further people coming forward, I think it would be time to resign," she told Spectrum News host Susan Arbetter.
"I am at a place, and we are all at this place, where it's always hard when you think something is resolved, and find that there is still so much work to do," she added. "I applaud women who have been through this for coming forward."
Stewart-Cousins said that she may ask Cuomo to step down after New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) completes her investigation into the accusations against the governor. The investigation could take weeks to complete.
Bennett gave an interview to CBS News this week, where she said, "I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me, and felt horribly uncomfortable and scared."
Stewart-Cousins was asked about Bennett's interview on New York 1's "Inside City Hall."
"It's heartbreaking in a number of ways," she told NY1. "The fact that we are here at this time in 2021 really having this conversation."
"I didn't get a chance to see the entire interview but it's clear that you know she's traumatized in a profound way," she added.
Only a few months ago, Stewart-Cousins spoke out against sexual harassment. In November, she held a news conference where she pledged to, "Protect women's rights and health care options and combat sexual harassment."
In 2019, Stewart-Cousins wrote on Twitter, "No one should have to endure sexual harassment or mistreatment in the workplace. For too long, our state was held back from making real progress in the fight against sexual harassment."
"Thanks to the new @NYSenDems, major strides were made in combating this inappropriate behavior and addressing the priorities of the survivors of sexual harassment," she tweeted.
In 2018, Stewart-Cousins wrote an op-ed for The Journal News, titled "Senate GOP foils #MeToo moment with insult and intimidation." In a tweet promoting the article, she wrote, "Check out my op-ed on the need to truly confront #SexualHarassment."
Check out my op-ed on the need to truly confront #SexualHarassment. Via @lohud: Senate GOP foils #MeToo moment wit… https://t.co/paSUYou1Cb— Sen. Stewart-Cousins (@Sen. Stewart-Cousins) 1517582161.0
Cuomo issued a statement on the allegations, but skirted taking any blame. Instead, Cuomo said, "I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation. To the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that."
"I now understand that my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal and that some of my comments, given my position, made others feel in ways I never intended," Cuomo said.
Cuomo stated he "never inappropriately touched anybody" and "never propositioned anybody."