Rather than take a stance on whether the allegations should be believed or what consequences should follow, Gillibrand seems eager to defer the issue to the state attorney general. This is not the first time she has taken this path. In 2019, she was likewise unwilling to commit beyond calling for an investigation into sexual-assault charges against another Democrat, Virginia lieutenant governor Justin Fairfax. In 2020, she publicly stood by Joe Biden on the basis of his denial of Tara Reade’s sexual-assault allegations. Gillibrand was also a long-time Clinton booster until it became safe, in 2017, to distance herself from Bill’s notorious gropiness.
Gillibrand should not be able to hide behind the “every woman” dodge this time. It’s not just that she and Cuomo are two of the three highest-ranking elected Democrats in the state. Gillibrand also has posed as a key champion on the issue, has been vocal in the past about sexual-misconduct claims when it was in her political interest, and has even framed herself as a judge of such things within her own party. Her Senate bio prominently touts her work on sexual-assault claims on campus and in the military. She has not been shy about arguing, when it serves her, that her status as a woman gives her superior judgment on some issues.