New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, besieged by sexual harassment allegations and anger over his handling of a deadly coronavirus outbreak in the Empire State’s nursing homes, is drawing flak over a remark he made to a female doctor in May.
Dr. Elizabeth Dufort was on hand during a May 17 news briefing to help the governor illustrate how “fast and easy” a nasal swab coronavirus test could be.
“Nice to see you doctor,” Cuomo said, introducing her. “You make that gown look good.”
She gave a short laugh but changed the subject, telling him to raise his head and close his eyes to continue the demonstration of how to receive a coronavirus test via nasal swab.
When Dr. Dufort, an infectious disease specialist, asked Cuomo to close his eyes, he asked why he needed to.
“You can question the doctor, that’s OK,” he said, turning toward the press gallery before the swab.
Dr. Dufort administered the test.
“That’s it?” Cuomo asked a second later. “Nothing else?”
“That’s it,” the doctor replied.
Cuomo turned to reporters once again, demonstrating the test’s speed and simplicity, and thanked Dr. Dufort, who left.
Dr. Dufort could not immediately be reached for comment.
Critics have harped on some of Cuomo’s past comments to women amid a trio of sexual misconduct allegations leveled against the governor within the past week. In a resurfaced 2016 video, he told a female TV journalist that “I want to see you eat the whole sausage” when he saw the food on her plate at the New York State Fair.
Two former aides, Lindsey Boylan and Charlotte Bennett, publicly accused the governor of sexual harassment last week.
And on Monday, a woman named Anna Ruch accused him of making unwanted sexual advances at a 2019 wedding by asking if he could kiss her and placing a hand on the skin of her lower back.
The two had not met prior to that incident, according to the New York Times, which first published Ruch’s allegations.
Cuomo’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.