The sexual harassment problems New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is now facing aren’t the first he’s ever faced. About twenty years prior to being accused of sexual harassment against women while he served as governor of New York, a young Andrew Cuomo was the recipient of a sexual harassment complaint by a government official who accused Cuomo of hounding her with “a series of attacks and dirty tricks.” That was when he served as the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary for the Bill Clinton administration.
In 2000, Susan Gaffney file a complaint against Cuomo when she served as HUD’s Inspector General.
In her complaint, Gaffney, and other top HUD officials, alerted the Office of Departmental Equal Employment Opportunity that she was sexually harassed and discriminated against because of her stance against fraud at HUD, accusing Cuomo of verbally abusing her during weekend phone calls.
The complaint came after years of clashing with Cuomo as she described during her 1998 appearance before the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs. When she testified, Gaffney detailed being targeted with accusations and whisper campaigns and even made to appear to be a racist who discriminated against minorities.
Why should we look at Cuomo’s past when he served as HUD secretary? Because it shows a pattern of behavior by the governor who is now implicated in two, possibly three high-profile cases where he is being accused of sexually harassing women subordinates while serving as governor of New York. He is also being investigated by the Department of Justice (DOJ) for how he bungled the nursing home fiasco when he forced COVID-positive patients into nursing homes where he may be responsible for over ten thousand deaths.
Accusers and others who have known about Cuomo’s personality for a long time are now saying things like he was a “predatory” man and a “colossal a**hole.” Politicians and other officials are saying things like, “he’s always been that way.” Well, then where the heck were they all this time? How come none of them said anything publicly, in some cases for years?
Gaffney, during her 1998 testimony, testified that Cuomo’s “hostility” emanated from an audit that her office did on a program that fell under the former HUD secretary’s authority. It appears that Cuomo has always been a hothead. Gaffney said that Cuomo “heatedly disputed the authority of the OIG to raise certain questions, and strongly objected to what he saw as a lack of accountability on my part.” An inspector general has the right to ask any questions that fall under the jurisdiction of the department they are overseeing. She said her OIG continued to operate as normal after Cuomo took the job, but he continually clashed with them.
“Not surprisingly, given the depth and pervasiveness of management problems at HUD, we have expressed reservations about the Secretary’s ability to transform HUD in the radical manner and under the abbreviated timetable he has adopted,” Gaffney said during her testimony. “The Secretary has characterized this as biased reporting and naysaying. His impatience with the independence of the OIG has led to a truly extraordinary series of events.” In short, Cuomo’s a jerk.
Gaffney explained that the problems with Cuomo started when he announced that his office had received an anonymous letter claiming that Gaffney targeted African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans, right out of the Democrat handbook, and said that the OIG was “riddled with abuse.”
Since time immemorial, whenever Democrats found themselves boxed into a corner one surefire way to get out of it is to accuse your opponent of being a racist.
Gaffney told the Senate that of course, that and other garbage was leaked to the Washington Post and that she approached Cuomo to question by members of his staff had leaked that information to the media.
“He explained to me that his key aides saw me as the ’embodiment of evil,’ and there was nothing he could do about that,” Gaffney testified.
Andrew Cuomo is an insecure man-child who thinks acting like a bully will make other people back down on you. That works in many cases because most people in civil society don’t want any trouble or to upset the applecart as it were, but in my experience when you push back on a bully like this they cave in many cases because their toughness was all just a bluff. Democrats in power last longer than most folks, because of the political implications involved and power moves are important to those kinds of people.
So what we’re seeing today is just an extension of Andrew Cuomo’s boorish behavior from decades ago. A tiger cannot change its stripes and a jerk never grows up. Unfortunately for the governor, it appears that the Democratic Party no longer finds him useful and I think he’s finding that out now.