The following editorial published on Aug. 4 in the Wall Street Journal:
We’re about to find out if Democrats believe what they say about having no tolerance for sexual harassment. If they do, then they have little choice other than to move to impeach Andrew Cuomo as Governor of New York.
Mr. Cuomo asked Attorney General Letitia James to investigate the many accusations women have made against the Governor, and on Tuesday the outside lawyers the AG appointed issued their 165-page report.
The report recounts the facts as related by 11 women who worked for Mr. Cuomo or came to his attention as part of their work in government or private business. A couple of the accounts don’t seem to rise to the level of harassment. But many do, at least by the contemporary standards set and episodically enforced by the political and cultural left.
No corporate CEO, or even a junior executive, would survive in the job amid the trail of bullying, groping, leering, unwanted kissing, and suggestive come-ons recorded in the report by six lawyers at two law firms. In one instance, the report says, Mr. Cuomo noticed a female state trooper he fancied at a public event, had her transferred to his personal protective detail though she lacked the necessary minimum tenure, then “sexually harassed her on a number of occasions.”
This included caressing her stomach and back, kissing her on the cheek in the presence of another trooper, and on another occasion asking for a kiss. The reasonable conclusion is that Mr. Cuomo used his power as Governor to violate New York State Police rules to transfer a woman he figured he might be able to coax into a sexual relationship. The report concludes that “the Governor engaged in conduct constituting sexual harassment under federal and New York State law.” In other words, he violated the law.
Mr. Cuomo denies some of the allegations and explains others as the too affectionate style of an old-school man. He says the women misinterpreted what he meant as compliments.
That’s hard to believe when there are so many accusers and the report cites others who described an office culture that was “filled with fear and intimidation” and “contributed to the conditions that allowed the sexual harassment to occur and persist.” Everyone in Albany has known for years that Mr. Cuomo is an abusive, bullying figure. The report describes a man who acted as if he is politically invincible, which is what often happens in a one-party state with a largely one-party press.
The report has triggered calls from Democrats for Mr. Cuomo to resign, including by President Biden on Tuesday. But this is pro forma outrage. They know he’s staying in office unless forced out, and that he plans to run for a fourth four-year term next year. He has adopted the Donald Trump-Bill Clinton strategy of deny and stonewall until people forget.
If Democrats have the courage of their convictions, they’ll call on the Legislature to start impeachment proceedings. Make the case for why the verdict of voters should be short-circuited with specific charges and evidence. This would give Mr. Cuomo’s lawyers the chance to defend him against the allegations and to cross-examine his accusers. Anything less will mean giving Mr. Cuomo—and themselves—a pass.