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State GOP avoids ‘grab you’ remark

New York state Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy was one of the first to begin calls for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign in February when reports regarding a cover-up of nursing home deaths tied to COVID-19 began surfacing. In August, in the midst of growing sexual assault and harassment allegations against the former state leader, his voice became louder.

Once Cuomo did officially step down, Langworthy offered this statement: “New Yorkers can breathe a collective sigh of relief that Andrew Cuomo will no longer be able to wield the immense power of the governor’s office to commit his corruption and abuse, but make no mistake, this resignation is simply an attempt to avoid real accountability for his numerous crimes.”

Langworthy was in attendance during a campaign gathering Sept. 16 for incumbent Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel in Bemus Point where he compared Gov. Kathy Hochul to the embattled former leader.

“Unlike Andrew Cuomo, she’s going to show up more,” he said. “She’s going to smile more.

“Unlike Andrew Cuomo, she’s nicer.”

His final comparison at the event included this line: “Unlike Andrew Cuomo, she’s probably not going to grab you.”

In the video, obtained by the OBSERVER and The Post-Journal, Wendel appears uncomfortable by the remark while others in attendance not seen in the picture offer a laugh.

Jessica Proud, spokeswoman for Langworthy, did not address those comparisons or the remark. However, she offered a statement.

“No one has done more to hold corrupt abuser Andrew Cuomo accountable than Chairman Langworthy,” she said. “While the entire New York Democrat establishment — including in Chautauqua County — were hiding out last winter and refusing to condemn Cuomo, Chairman Langworthy was leading the charge for the Attorney General to independently investigate the serious allegations against him and continues to call for him to be impeached and prosecuted. Any attempt to rewrite history is fake news driven by biased political interests.”

During this era of the #MeToo movement, it could be seen as a troubling statement by a leader who supported U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, after the congressman faced allegations of rubbing the shoulders and unhooking the bra of a lobbyist in 2017 in Minneapolis. “I think he has set an example already,” Langworthy said to a group of reporters in Binghamton in a WSKG-TV online article, “because he had a single accuser. Within 72 hours of the charges being leveled, Congressman Reed took full accountability. He admitted wrongdoing. He acknowledged that he had caused someone pain.”

Reed, however, has been a very different representative since the Washington Post article in March. His public appearances have decreased significantly as have his interactions with constituents.

Langworthy also was staunch in his 2020 support of President Donald Trump’s re-election despite numerous reports of sexual harassment allegations.

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