A seventh woman came forward with sexual-harrassment claims against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday as top Democrats—who normally circle the wagon to protect their own—continued to withdraw their support.
“[O]n my arms, my shoulders, the small of my back, my waist—often enough by late 2014 that I didn’t want to go to the holiday party he was hosting for the Albany press corps at the executive mansion,” she continued.
Bakeman said that, at 25, she was one of the youngest reporters in the press corps while working as a state-house reporter for Politico New York.
She said she was also one of the few women tasked with covering Cuomo.
Despite her aversion, she felt obligated to make an appearance and thank him for the invitation to the party.
“He took my hand, as if to shake it, then refused to let go,” she wrote. “He put his other arm around my back, his hand on my waist, and held me firmly in place while indicating to a photographer he wanted us to pose for a picture.”
He refused to let go of his grip as she attempted to squirm away.
“Then he turned to me with a mischievous smile on his face, in front of all of my colleagues, and said: ‘I’m sorry. Am I making you uncomfortable? I thought we were going steady.'”
Like many #MeToo victims who have emerged, Bakeman said it was more about the power and control than any particular amorousness.
“[H]e wanted me to know that he could take my dignity away at any moment with an inappropriate comment or a hand on my waist,” she said.
But a growing parade of leaders—and significantly those of his own party—have expressed outrage.
“It is disgusting to me,” New York City mayor Bill de Blasio said a press conference. “He can no longer serve as governor. It’s as simple as that.”
De Blasio is one of many state leaders who already had tense relations with Cuomo due to his frequent bullying.
But increasingly, those who have stood by his side are no longer willing to do so.
New York’s two US senators—Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, both Democrats—were the latest to call on Cuomo to resign Friday.
“Confronting and overcoming the Covid crisis requires sure and steady leadership,” they said in a joint statement.
“We commend the brave actions of the individuals who have come forward with serious allegations of abuse and misconduct,” they continued. “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. Governor Cuomo should resign.”
The delayed response has been an ever-growing source of embarrassment among the Democrats, and a potential liability as the charges compound.
Many held their tongue last year as national press fawned over Cuomo for his supposed leadership in managing the coronavirus.
He received an Emmy for his regular press briefings, was offered a seven-figure book deal and made high-profile CNN appearances engaging in brotherly banter with anchor Chris Cuomo, violating a longstanding rule of journalism ethics.
Amid discussions that Cuomo might put his hat in the presidential ring, and later that he might be offered the attorney general job, those who knew his true nature began to quietly cringe.
But it was an unrelated scandal, involving his cover-up over nursing-home deaths due to the coronavirus, that finally knocked Cuomo off his pedestal and paved the way for a dramatic downfall.
Thus far, Cuomo has remained defiant amid the calls to resign, but with his support structure caving in, many expected his days were numbered.
If Cuomo does choose to ride out the storm—as Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam was able to do successfully following a racism scandal in 2019—he would still face the prospect of impeachment by the state legislature and an investigation by state Attorney General Letitia James.
Unlike Northam, who was spared accountability by scandals that emerged surrounding his lieutenant governor and attorney general, the three-term Cuomo may have no shortage of ambitious Democrats—including James—ready to take his place.
He has long been criticized by the far Left in his state for not being radical enough.