Did Andrew Cuomo hire women for their looks? Ex-aide Karen Hinton drops bombshell allegation
It's been six days since the Attorney General's report on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's behavior was released, but the fallout shows no sign of stopping. Cuomo's ex-aide Karen Hinton stepped forward on Monday, August 9, with another bombshell accusation; one that might not come as a surprise to his accusers. According to Hinton, Cuomo made looks a key part of his decision to hire staff, especially female staff.
Hinton's accusations come just a day after longtime aide Melissa DeRosa decided to resign, ending nearly a decade-long association with Cuomo. That shocking resignation leaves the governor with little support, as he faces a massive battle against impeachment. From New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stwart-Cousins to President Joe Biden, a large number of Democrats have called on Cuomo to resign, before the impeachment begins, but the governor has shown little interest in the option.
Beyond the AG's report, and the accusations of multiple women going public, Cuomo now has to deal with Hinton's allegations. The accusations by Hinton go back years, long before he was governor. She worked as Cuomo's press secretary when he was the housing secretary for Bill Clinton, and also claims Cuomo found the ex-president's sex scandal "funny". The damning allegations could hint that Cuomo's behavior is historic, giving the impeachment more teeth.
Did Cuomo hire for looks?
Hinton accuses Cuomo of refusing to hire a woman because "she's not pretty enough". It's unclear when exactly Cuomo made that statement, Hinton did not dive into great details when she made the revelation to The New York Post. Reportedly, she had called the woman in for an interview because "I knew her, she had a very good understanding of Capitol Hill politics and policy." Hinton also believed her years of experience on Capitol Hill would have been a great asset to Cuomo.
However, the then-housing secretary didn't seem pleased with the pick. "He said to me after, ‘No, I don’t think so.'" Hinton added: “I asked, ‘Why?’ He said, ‘She’s not pretty enough. I don’t like the way she looks.'" Hinton did not mention any other instances where Cuomo refused to hire for looks, but her association with Cuomo was short. According to Hinton's LinkedIn profile, she only worked for Cuomo between 1995 and 1997. It is possible other aides could level the same accusations in the coming days if it is indeed a pattern of behavior.
That's not all Hinton has accused Cuomo of. She also told the Post that Cuomo was physically "aroused" when he hugged her "too tightly" and for "too long" in a Los Angeles hotel room in December 2000. The incident was a part of the AG's report and was mentioned very briefly despite Hinton not being one of the 11 women whose complaints were addressed in detail. That's because the report focuses on Cuomo's wrongdoing as governor, not before.
Furthermore, Hinton also accused the governor of finding Bill Clinton's sex scandal with Monica Lewinsky "funny". "I remember him laughing about the Monica Lewinsky situation, not because he didn’t believe her — he did — but because he thought it was funny," Hinton said. "There were jokes made about it because of the cigars." This isn't the first time Hinton and Cuomo have butted heads though. In the first week of August, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio accused Cuomo of once demanding that he fire Hinton, who was a spokesperson for the mayor.
With each passing day, fresh allegations against the governor emerge, making his position seem even more untenable. As he continues to play hardball, a drawn-out impeachment appears to be the only way forward. It could still be several weeks before impeachment proceedings begin though, as the state Assembly Judiciary Committee said on August 9. The committee is currently reviewing the evidence and on completing its review will submit a recommendation to the state assembly. "We anticipate that this process will be concluded very soon. When I say ‘very soon,’ I’m speaking about several weeks," the committee's Democratic chairman Charles Lavine said.