Yesterday, the New Yorker published the first extensive interview with Lindsay Boylan about her experiences with Gov. Cuomo. The story by Ronan Farrow doesn’t contain much that’s new but there is one vignette about a dog at a party which portrays Cuomo as pretty crude.
In 2018, in an incident she has not previously disclosed, Boylan attended a meeting on the ground floor of the Governor’s mansion. At a press conference that February, Cuomo had proudly showed off his new puppy, a Siberian-Shepherd-Malamute mix named Captain. After the meeting, Boylan said that she made her way toward the entrance with the Governor, and Captain approached her. When the dog jumped up and down near her, Boylan said, she reached out to calm him, and then backed away. Cuomo, she said, joked that if he were a dog, he would try to “mount” her as well. Boylan said that she did not reply. “I remember being grossed out but also, like, what a dumb third-grade thing to say.” She added, “I just shrugged it off.”
The months of daily Cuomo press conferences about the virus have an unintended side effect, which is that you can read a story like this and kind of hear it coming out of Cuomo’s mouth in your head.
The other revelation from the story is that Boylan had been a lifelong Hillary Clinton fan. In fact, she says that’s why a previously reported detail about Cuomo mentioning a cigar box given to him by Bill Clinton was so disturbing to her. It wasn’t just that she felt Cuomo was making a sexual allusion to Monica Lewinsky, it’s that Cuomo knew she was a Hillary stan:
Cuomo showed her his office, and called attention to a cigar box that he told her was a gift from President Bill Clinton. Since childhood, Boylan had idolized Hillary Clinton. She once waited in line for hours to have a photo taken with her, an experience that she said “changed my life.” Boylan said that the obvious reference to Clinton’s sexual behavior disturbed her, because the Governor knew that she considered Hillary Clinton a role model. “It was deeply distressing,” Boylan told me.
Later, the story notes that Boylan has been deeply disappointed by Clinton’s tepid reaction to her story.
She expressed frustration with what she perceives to be a reluctance among some Democrats to demand Cuomo’s resignation. She was especially dismayed by Hillary Clinton’s response. After Boylan’s and other allegations were made public, Clinton issued a statement saying that the allegations against Cuomo are “difficult to read” and “raise serious questions.” She emphasized the attorney general’s investigation, stopping short of calling for the Governor’s resignation. Clinton, Boylan told me, “was the great hero of my life.” She said that this was no longer the case. “There’s no way you don’t know who this man is if you’ve worked with, or around, him for decades,” she added.
I’m sympathetic to Boylan’s story which seems consistent and which has plenty of contemporaneous support to deem it credible, but I read this and wondered if she could hear herself. “There’s no way you don’t know who this man is” she said, as if Hillary Clinton hesitating to condemn a sexual harasser is a surprise for the ages.
Hillary Clinton, the woman whose entire political career came out of a partnership with the man known as Slick Willie? You’re surprised she didn’t know who Cuomo really was after being around him for decades? Her husband was buddies with Jeffrey Epstein. She and Bill had a relationship with longtime supporter Harvey Weinstein. And you’re surprised she didn’t know who Cuomo was?
Lindsey Boylan has to be smarter than this quote makes her sound but, frankly, I also don’t believe Hillary didn’t know. Hillary has a lot of flaws, chief among them her constant desire for secrecy (that’s what the private server in the basement was about), but being stupid has never been Hillary’s problem. Hillary knew all about Bill’s behavior, and she probably knows about Cuomo, and at least had an inkling about Weinstein, and Epstein. Maybe she never saw it directly in the case of the latter two but she must have heard things. You don’t spend your life among top players in Washington and Hollywood and not hear things. But turning a blind eye to sexual harassment is one of Hillary Clinton’s most consistent behavioral traits. There’s no excuse for anyone to be surprised by it at this late date.