Chris Cuomo might not be the only celebrity with questions to answer after the release of texts by New York AG Letitia James in the Andrew Cuomo investigation. Reporter Josefa Velásquez from the NYC-based The City found a needle or two in the haystack from former Pete Buttigieg 2020 advisor Lis Smith, who apparently wanted to help the embattled governor spin his way out of trouble too. Smith, who had also worked on Cuomo’s 2018 campaign, took a moment out to opine about another high-profile claim of sexual impropriety:
While former presidential candidate and current Sec. of Transportation Pete Buttigieg was publicly supportive of Christine Blasey Ford, his campaign advisor Lis Smith was calling her “looney tunes and the height of Me Too overreach” in a text exchange with Cuomo admin officials. https://t.co/yEBqB1hUfR pic.twitter.com/FkP83MWTAp
— Josefa Velásquez (@J__Velasquez) November 29, 2021
This comment didn’t come out of left field, either. If you want to find this in the NYAG report, it pops up in page 280, the second entry from the top. The report redacts Smith’s phone number, but the March 1 text originated from Smith and went out to a number of Cuomo’s inner circle, including Rich Azzopardi and Melissa DeRosa. The message followed a tweet link from New York Times reporter Jesse McKinley that Smith had passed around to the same group, which noted that Cuomo accuser Charlotte Bennett had hired a new attorney, one who had represented Blasey Ford in the Brett Kavanaugh hearings:
The addition of Charlotte Bennett’s new lawyer, Debra S. Katz, is a signifcant development.
Katz is a heavy hitter, having repped Christine Blasey Ford in the #Kavanaugh
New Bennett statement here: https://t.co/e1mGs5Hei5
Kavanaugh here: https://t.co/HF30h78oL3
— Jesse McKinley (@jessemckinley) March 1, 2021
Very interestingly, no one on the text chain objected to Smith’s characterization of Blasey Ford. In fact, they didn’t react at all, at least not by text captured in James’ report. Perhaps they were smarter than Smith, or at least more discreet, but they didn’t openly disagree with Smith’s point.
Does that mean Buttigieg has to answer for Smith in this instance? Er, probably not. For one thing, this took place long after she worked on Buttigieg’s campaign, which ended roughly a year before this text was sent. For another, no media outlet is likely to press Buttigieg on this point, other than maybe for a quick “no comment” and a reiteration of his support for her. (The Todd Akin Rule only applies to Republicans, don’t forget.) Even Josefa Velásquez didn’t bother to include this in her report late last night, barely mentioning Smith at all and making no reference to the Blasey Ford message, despite discovering the scooplet herself and tweeting it out.
Still, let’s not forget that Andrew Cuomo and his office went all-in on Blasey Ford’s claim on Kavanaugh as a signal of support for #MeToo. So did lots and lots of other Democrats, most (but not all) of whom suddenly got veeeeerrrrrry quiet when the claims about Cuomo began to emerge. One has to wonder how many of those Democrats also though Blasey Ford was “looney tunes” and “the height of #MeToo overreach.” It apparently wasn’t a controversial opinion within Cuomo’s office.