Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said he doesn't see how Andrew Cuomo can continue to serve as New York's governor after an investigation found that Cuomo sexually harassed nearly a dozen women.
Both Baker, a Republican, and Cuomo, a Democrat, were hailed for their leadership during the COVID-19 crisis. But they now find themselves on opposite ends of the political spectrum.
Baker said Tuesday that while he hasn't read the report, the news coverage would make it nearly impossible for Cuomo to remain in office.
"If the news coverage, which is extraordinary, is -- and I would assume it is -- an accurate representation of the report itself, then I don't see how he can continue to do his job," he said.
"Look, these are public jobs, and they carry with them a significant amount of responsibility and accountability," Baker added. "And a report like that one, based on the reports I've seen so far, I believe make it very difficult for him to continue in that job based on what I believe the level of accountability that comes with this role or any of these elected roles is all about."
New York Attorney General Letitia James and the team of attorneys selected to investigate allegations of sexual harassment made against Cuomo released a public report of their findings Tuesday. The investigation found that Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women in and out of state government and worked to retaliate against one of his accusers.
Cuomo denied the allegations, saying in a taped response to the findings that “the facts are much different than what has been portrayed” and that he “never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances.”
Baker was also asked Tuesday about reports that former President Barack Obama is planning to host a 60th birthday party for himself with nearly 700 guests and staff at his family's property on Martha's Vineyard.
The party will be held outdoors, and all invitees will reportedly be required to present negative COVID tests before being allowed in.
Baker said he wasn't invited to Obama's birthday party, "but I can tell you that if I were invited I would have declined because I think 700 people at an event like that is not a good idea."
Massachusetts health officials released new guidance Friday recommending that fully vaccinated people wear face masks in public, indoor settings under certain conditions. State education officials also released guidance strongly recommending that students in sixth grade and below wear masks indoors when classes begin this fall.
Baker said he has no plans at this time to change that guidance, despite New York City's decision to mandate proof of vaccination for restaurants, gyms and theaters and calls from Democratic state Sen. Becca Rausch to implement a universal mask mandate in all Massachusetts schools.
"I think in some respects it's very difficult for me, as the governor of a Commonwealth where 80% of adults have at least one dose and 70% are fully vaccinated, to think about national guidance that's very appropriate for certain parts of the country and apply that the same way here," he said. "We're in a very different place than other parts of the country are in."
"We've always said since the beginning of the pandemic there is a kind of 'stay tuned' rule with all of this," Baker noted. "But if you change the guidance every 48 hours it gets really confusing for people in terms of what exactly you would like them to do."