CNN’S Chris Cuomo once joked on air that his brother Andrew Cuomo was “single and ready to mingle” before the New York Governor faced allegations of sexual harassment.
Governor Cuomo was hit Saturday by a second former aide coming forward and claiming he asked her inappropriate questions about her sex life in June last year.
During the early months of the coronavirus pandemic the host of Cuomo Prime Time had his brother on the show for a light-hearted interview, Fox News reports.
"Do you think you are an attractive person now because you're single and ready to mingle?" the CNN anchor asked. "Do you think that you're some desirable single person and that this is not just people's pain coming out of them?"
"I think that beauty is in the eye of the beholder," the governor replied.
"Listen to you, you got an answer for anything. You're feeling pretty good about yourself these days, aren't ya?" the anchor laughed.
The interview is said to have been slammed by critics as the nursing home scandal began to haunt the governor.
Instead of taking the Democrat to task for his controversial policy that ordered nursing homes to accept patients who had tested positive for Covid, Chris Cuomo made fun of the size of his brother’s nose with the use of giant Q-tips after he’d taken a nasal Covid test.
CNN has now said it has barred Chris Cuomo from covering his relative after admitting they lifted the rule in the early months of the pandemic to allow the interview to go ahead.
Charlotte Bennett, 25, a former executive assistant and health policy adviser in the Cuomo administration outlined her allegations of sexual harassment in a New York Times report Saturday.
She claims the governor "asked her questions about her sex life, whether she was monogamous in her relationships and if she had ever had sex with older men."
In a press release Saturday, Cuomo called Bennett a "hardworking and valued member of our team during Covid" who has "every right to speak out."
"When she came to me and opened up about being a sexual assault survivor and how it shaped her and her ongoing efforts to create an organization that empowered her voice to help other survivors, I tried to be supportive and helpful," Cuomo said in a statement, which was issued to the Times. "Ms. Bennett's initial impression was right: I was trying to be a mentor to her. I never made advances toward Ms. Bennett nor did I ever intend to act in any way that was inappropriate. The last thing I would ever have wanted was to make her feel any of the things that are being reported."
Cuomo added he would "have no further comment" until a "full and thorough outside review" of Bennett's claims is conducted and concluded.
He said he was "truly sorry" if he upset anyone with his "banter" – as New York's attorney general prepared a formal inquiry into his conduct.
Bennett’s allegations came just days after Lindsey Boylan, the former deputy secretary for economic development and a special adviser to Cuomo, published a bombshell essay Wednesday on the website Medium.
Boylan claimed the governor would go "out of his way to touch me on my lower back, arms and legs," forcibly kissing her on the lips during a one-on-one briefing, and suggesting that they "play strip poker" during a plane ride.
Cuomo's office has denied Boylan's harassment claims, calling them "simply false" and insisting the strip poker comment "did not happen."
His statement came as a creepy video resurfaced in which the governor gives a female reporter a sandwich and asks her to "eat the whole sausage".
Speaker Nancy Pelosi has distanced herself from Cuomo and backed the investigation.
She said: "The women who have come forward with serious and credible charges against Governor Cuomo deserve to be heard and to be treated with dignity.
"The independent investigation must have due process and respect for everyone involved."
Joe Biden's spokeswoman also said he backed the investigation.
New York state senator Alessandra Biaggi tweeted bluntly: "@NYGovCuomo, you are a monster, and it is time for you to go. Now.”
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