New York Governor Andrew Cuomo threatened to brand political opponents with a comparison to ‘child rapists’, leaked audio confirms.
Shocking audio of the exchange was released in a New York Times podcast, and comes as the Democratic governor faces whirlwind allegations of bullying and sexual harassment.
Cuomo’s office in February denied the child rapist remark, but a recording of his phone conversation with Working Families Party head Bill Lipton leaves no doubt about the remarks.
The Working Families Party, a small but influential progressive political party in New York, had backed Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon in a failed primary challenge against Cuomo in 2018, and Cuomo was furious about the group’s hesitancy to endorse him in the general election.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo once threatened to brand political opponents with a comparison to ‘child rapists’, leaked audio confirms
Cuomo made the remark to Working Families Party head Bill Lipton (left), who had backed progressive candidate Cynthia Nixon (right) against Cuomo in the 2018 primaries
‘If you ever say, ‘Well he’s better than a Republican’ again, then I’m going to say, ‘You’re better than a child rapist,’ the governor can be heard telling Lipton on the call. ‘How about that?’
‘Governor, I apologize, but I gotta clarify one thing,’ responded the Working Families Party leader.
Lipton continued: ‘You’re free to say whatever you want, governor, but I just want to be clear. Our line is going to be that we have differences with you, but our differences with Republicans are far greater.’
‘I think you’re better than a child rapist,’ Cuomo repeated. ‘I just want you to know.’
The leaked audio comes as Cuomo faces dual scandals over the harassment allegations and claims that he mishandled nursing homes in the coronavirus pandemic and covered up the true death toll.
On Friday, Alyssa McGrath, 33, became the latest of at least eight women who have publicly alleged sexual misconduct by Cuomo – and the first woman who is currently employed in the governor’s office to do so.
She claimed he looked down her shirt to compliment her on her necklace as they worked alone in his office, told her that she’s beautiful in Italian and kissed her on the forehead during an office Christmas party in 2019.
On Friday, Alyssa McGrath, 33, became the latest of at least eight women who have publicly alleged sexual misconduct by Cuomo
McGrath also claimed Cuomo ogled her body, called her and her co-worker ‘mingle mamas’ and asked about her lack of a wedding ring.
DailyMail.com has reached out to McGrath for further information and additional comment.
Cuomo spokesman referred a request for comment to his lawyer, Rita Glavin, who could not immediately be reached.
The 63-year-old governor has denied any wrongdoing, though he has acknowledged it had been a ‘custom’ for him to kiss and hug people when greeting them. He has said he was sorry if his behavior had made ‘people feel uncomfortable.’
The flurry of allegations in recent weeks, along with revelations that Cuomo’s administration under-reported nursing home deaths from COVID-19, has led to a growing clamor among prominent fellow Democrats in New York for his resignation.
New York state Attorney General Letitia James last week named a team of outside lawyers to lead an investigation into accusations the governor harassed women through unwelcome, sexualized comments and inappropriate physical contact, including unsolicited kissing.
Lindsey Boylan, a former Cuomo aide, was the first to come out in December with allegations against Cuomo – she further detailed her experience in a February post to Medium
One current staffer, whose name has been kept confidential, accused the governor of groping her breast in the Executive Mansion last year, in an account published last week by The Times Union newspaper of Albany.
McGrath was quoted by the New York Times as saying that the unnamed aide, a friend and co-worker, had related the alleged groping incident to her in detail after it went public.
For her part, McGrath said the governor regularly engaged in what she described as flirtatious banter mixed with more personal remarks, as well as a subtle but steady effort to cultivate rivalry among female staffers in his office.
The Times said McGrath’s accounts were supported by contemporaneous text messages, emails and social media posts she shared with the newspaper.
Although McGrath did not accuse Cuomo of touching her, she said his conduct amounted to sexual harassment, perpetuated by secrecy and normalized inside his inner circle.
Cuomo has vowed to cooperate with the investigation overseen by the state’s attorney general, and has steadfastly refused to step down before the inquiry is concluded.