Buttigieg Mum on Former Aide Helping Cuomo Fight Sexual Harassment Accusations Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg does a television interview with CNBC outside the White House Oct. 13, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
By Brian Freeman | Wednesday, 01 December 2021 02:12 PM
After details emerged of Pete Buttigieg’s former top aide’s assistance to disgraced former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the transportation secretary has remained silent about the allegations, Fox News reported on Wednesday.
New York Attorney General Letitia James, who carried out an investigation into Cuomo and his staff about the governor’s sexual harassment of women, among other charges, made public a series of text messages this week in which Democrat strategist Lis Smith appears.
Smith, who served as Cuomo's spokeswoman during his 2014 reelection bid and was later Buttigieg's senior communications director during his 2020 presidential campaign admitted to offering Cuomo "strategic advice" in response to the sexual harassment allegations.
In the transcript of Smith's testimony for James' probe into Cuomo, she was asked if she was "involved" in any other conversations other than the Cuomo team's response to Lindsey Boylan's sexual harassment allegations, to which Smith said, "Yes. I was involved with the response to the subsequent allegations that came out," adding that "it was primarily offering strategic advice on how the Governor's Office and the Governor himself should respond."
Smith is also documented in the material James released referring to Christine Blasey Ford as "looney tunes" and speaking dismissively about the #MeToo movement earlier this year.
"Christine Blasey Ford was looney tunes and the height of [#MeToo] overreach so this checks out," Smith texted members of then-Gov. Cuomo's staff, referring to one of the women who accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation process in 2018 of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school.
But Buttigieg, who has publicly referred to Ford as a "profile in courage," has remained silent on the remarks by Smith, as well as her prominent role in providing advice to Cuomo and his team regarding the sexual harassment allegations, even after the transportation secretary was asked by Fox to comment on the matter.