Broken Dam? NBC Press Panel Shocked By Cuomo, ABCer Calls for Ouster

News & Politics

Had the dam finally broken? While CBS was the lone broadcast network hold out hiding the latest sexual harassment allegation against Governor Chris Cuomo on their major programs on Sunday, the panels on ABC’s This Week and NBC’s Meet the Press were shocked and disgusted, with one Democratic panelist saying it was time him to go.

CBS News did have a nine-minute long segment on Cuomo’s many scandals and allegations of misconduct, it was unfortunately relegated to their online streaming service CBSN. In contrast, the other broadcast Sunday talk shows made sure they cover it.

Right in the middle of Meet the Press, moderator Chuck Todd shifted gears and directly brought up the sexual harassment allegations against the embattled Governor. And after reading from Cuomo’s statement responding to allegations of his second accuser, Charlotte Bennett, Todd seemed legitimately disgusted by what Cuomo appeared to admit to (Click “expand”):

“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. Ms. Bennett’s initial impression was right: I was trying to be a mentor to her. I never made advancements toward Ms. Bennett nor did I ever intend to act in any way that was inappropriate. The last thing I ever wanted was to make her feel any of the things that are being reported.”

Carol Lee, that statement to me was pretty eyebrow-raising of itself. Because it seemed to confirm at least some of the substance and certainly to bring up her own sexual assault, seemed to be highly inappropriate.

NBC White House correspondent Carol Lee also seemed shocked by Cuomo’s statement, saying: “And it’s very different and stands out from statements we’ve seen from officials in the past who’ve been accused of similar allegations, where there’s an outright denial. That’s not at all, as you point out, what we see here.”

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Todd then turned to Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson to answer whether or not Cuomo could survive “this Democratic Party of 2021.” He wasn’t sure, saying: “It’s kind of tough right now.”

Robinson went on to almost mock Cuomo for what he said to Bennett:

Look, I’ve been in management, right? And I have managed and mentored female subordinates and have done so without any reference to their sex lives. So that’s kind of — that should be a no-brainer, and it should have been a no-brainer years and years and years ago, and it certainly is now. So, this is a problem for him.

“Yeah, I think it’s a big one,” Todd concluded.

And as the powerhouse roundtable was nearing the end of its discussion on ABC’s This Week, chief anchor George Stephanopoulos made time to specifically talk about Cuomo’s scandals. “Right before we go, I do want to ask you about Andrew Cuomo. We saw those headlines this morning. A second person’s come forward with sexual harassment allegations. Can he survive this,” he asked Democrat commentator Yvette Simpson.

In her response, Simpson said “this is just another shoe to drop” and called for Cuomo’s ouster:

No, he shouldn’t. I mean, honestly, when you think about someone who’s in a position of power like this. And we know, we’ve been here before. We’ve had these conversations around this table. And you take advantage of your relationship with women – And I believe these women. I always stand with women. Then you should not be in a position of authority. And honestly, Andrew Cuomo has had a very, very bad couple weeks with the issue with COVID and the nursing home facilities.

From there, the rest of the panel called for an independent investigation. “It has to be a robust and transparent process. Not one that he came up with,” scoffed former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, referring to Cuomo’s hand-picked investigator.

It might be cliché, but only time will tell how much pressure the liberal media will put on Cuomo and how long the story stays in the cycle.

The transcripts are below, click “expand” to read:

ABC’s This Week
February 28, 2021
9:47:23 a.m. Eastern

(…)

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Right before we go, I do want to ask you about Andrew Cuomo. We saw those headlines this morning. A second person’s come forward with sexual harassment allegations. Can he survive this?

YVETTE SIMPSON: No, he shouldn’t. I mean, honestly, when you think about someone who’s in a position of power like this. And we know, we’ve been here before. We’ve had these conversations around this table. And you take advantage of your relationship with women – And I believe these women. I always stand with women. Then you should not be in a position of authority. And honestly, Andrew Cuomo has had a very, very bad couple weeks with the issue with COVID and the nursing home facilities. And this is just another shoe to drop.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Rahm.

RAHM EMANUEL: To the core question. One is, women need to be heard by all of us.

SIMPSON: All of us.

EMANUEL: Respect and to have the capacity to step guard and be listened to. Second, it has to be a robust and transparent process. Not one that he came up with.

SIMPSON: Right.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, the attorney general.

EMANUEL: The attorney general, whatever it is. But it has to be-

[Crosstalk]

EMANUEL: Just hold on. It has to have legitimacy. And right now, what it is, is the process itself is being questioned, let alone what happened. And for everybody involved given that’s a governor, et cetera, it needs robust transparency and a process that has legitimacy in whatever it concluded. And people need to have space to say what they believe happened to them and we have to respect that space.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Alice.

ALICE STEWART: And I think the key, Yvette is right, this is certainly troubling. We’re hearing from key Democrats, Jerry Nadler says this is very troubling. And we’s have state Senators, one calling him a monster and he must go.

And the key thing is, as Rahm said, these women should be heard, we should listen to them, they should have the environment and the space to speak. Also the notion of due process for the accused but what we’re seeing is instead of isolated allegations potential for a pattern of behavior, which is very disturbing. And an aggressive investigation needs to ensue.

STEPHANOPOULOS: 30 seconds.

CHRIS CHISTIE: Listen, I agree with what everybody said about people and the women in this instance having to be heard. These are very serious things. But I also want to caution. You know, there are lot of people who jumped to conclusions on Brett Kavanaugh and what happened there. And I think we need to hear from governor Cuomo, we need to be able to hear from him, he needs to have an opportunity to say what happened from his perspective.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And he’s denied the allegations.

CHRISTIE: Right.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Independent investigation?

CHRISTIE: Absolutely.

(…)

NBC’s Meet the Press
February 28, 2021
11:01:53 a.m. Eastern

(…)

CHUCK TODD: I want to shift gears here to the new allegation against Andrew Cuomo. A second woman has come out indicating that Governor Cuomo made her feel uncomfortable in many ways. Here’s his statement from last night wherein an odd – he basically confirms at least some of the substance of the conversations they had.

“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. Ms. Bennett’s initial impression was right: I was trying to be a mentor to her. I never made advancements toward Ms. Bennett nor did I ever intend to act in any way that was inappropriate. The last thing I ever wanted was to make her feel any of the things that are being reported.”

Carol Lee, that statement to me was pretty eyebrow-raising of itself. Because it seemed to confirm at least some of the substance and certainly to bring up her own sexual assault, seemed to be highly inappropriate.

CAROL LEE: Yeah, Chuck. And it’s very different and stands out from statements we’ve seen from officials in the past who’ve been accused of similar allegations, where there’s an outright denial. That’s not at all, as you point out, what we see here.

And this is something that Democrats are going to be asked about, the White House is going to be asked about. I spoke with White House officials this morning who said, ‘Look, everybody who comes forward deserves to be heard. We support an independent review.’

And this is just another instance where particularly with Governor Cuomo, where they’re having to answer questions about his conduct in office. Prior to this, there were earlier allegations and there was his handling of nursing homes. So, it’s really something that sounds like it could eventually lead somewhere. And this independent review will obviously see that through. But also something where there’s a little hands-off approach from the White House.

TODD: Gene Robinson, I mean, this Democratic Party of 2021, can you imagine Andrew Cuomo surviving in it?

EUGENE ROBINSON: It’s kind of tough right now. Look, I’ve been in management, right? And I have managed and mentored female subordinates and have done so without any reference to their sex lives. So that’s kind of — that should be a no-brainer, and it should have been a no-brainer years and years and years ago, and it certainly is now. So, this is a problem for him.

TODD: Yeah, I think it’s a big one.

(…)

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