Psaki responds to Cuomo harassment claim: ‘Any allegation should be reviewed’
During the White House press briefing Thursday, Psaki was asked about the allegations made by former Cuomo aide Lindsey Boylan, who accused the governor of unwanted kissing and touching while she worked in his office.
“The president has been consistent in his position,” Psaki said. “When a person comes forward, they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.Their voice should be heard and not silenced.”
She added: “And any allegation should be reviewed.”
Cuomo is facing intense scrutiny this week after Boylan published an essay on Medium.
Boylan, the former deputy secretary for economic development and special adviser to Cuomo, also claimed Cuomo had staffers arrange meetings with her, where he made inappropriate comments.
“Let’s play strip poker,” Boylan said Cuomo remarked on a flight from an event in October 2017.
Cuomo press secretary Caitlin Girouard called Boylan’s claims “quite simply false.” His office also put out a statement from four others who were also on flights with Cuomo and Boyland in October 2017 who said the “conversation did not happen.” Boylan could not be reached by Fox News.
Boylan first accused Cuomo of sexual harassment last year, but did not elaborate at the time.
Boylan, describing an encounter in December 2016, said Cuomo arranged through a handler to meet her in his Albany office, to which she agreed reluctantly. She said he gave her a tour of his office, “smirked” and showed off a cigar box he said was given to him by former President Bill Clinton while he served as the secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
Boylan said she interpreted that to be an innuendo referencing the affair between Clinton and his then-intern Monica Lewinsky in the mid-1990s.
She said she was warned by other staffers when she joined Cuomo’s administration in 2015 to “be careful around the Governor.”
Boylan said his behavior “was all so normalized — particularly by Melissa DeRosa and other top women around him — that only now do I realize how insidious his abuse was.”
She also alleged that shortly before the office incident, that made her feel uncomfortable, Stephanie Benton, director of the governor’s offices, told her in an email that Cuomo suggested she look up images of Lisa Shields — his rumored former girlfriend — because “we could be sisters” and told Boylan she was “the better looking sister.”
“The Governor began calling me ‘Lisa’ in front of colleagues. It was degrading,” Boylan wrote, including screenshots of the email exchange between her and Benton.
Boylan said in another incident, this time in Cuomo’s New York City office, he kissed her on the lips.
“I was in shock, but I kept walking,” Boylan wrote.
“The idea that someone might think I held my high-ranking position because of the Governor’s ‘crush’ on me was more demeaning than the kiss itself.”
She wrote in her Wednesday essay that she expects “the Governor and his top aides will attempt to further disparage me, just as they’ve done with Assemblymember Kim” — who came forward in recent weeks with his own accusations against the governor of bullying and threatening him.
The recently detailed allegations by Boylan come as Cuomo faces intense scrutiny and pressure to resign following explosive revelations that his administration concealed accurate nursing home death counts in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, stonewalling a federal investigation by the Justice Department into elder care facilities in four states, including New York.
Several ongoing investigations continue to probe the impact of Cuomo’s directive last March for nursing homes to admit COVID-19 patients, resulting in thousands of deaths in assisted living facilities.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.