Hawaii – Senator Mazie Hirono’s Politically Changing Stance on Sexual Misconduct

Picture of Mazie Hirono

By: T. Jeffersonian

Governor Andrew Cuomo is a powerful New York Democrat who could potentially rival
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris at some point in future Democratic Party primaries. The recent nursing home coronavirus death allegations and sexual misconduct allegations against Governor Cuomo and the growing calls for his resignation cast in stone, considerable doubt any future Cuomo contest with Biden and/or Harris. On March 12, 2021 both New York Senators, both powerful Democrats themselves, joined the chorus calling for Cuomo to resign. Hawaii’s two Senators, however, have been slower to respond to the Cuomo allegations.

As recently as February 18, 2021, Hawaii’s senior Senator Brian Schatz (D) deleted
a 47-week-old tweet that said, “Governor Cuomo is reminding us the job of a leader in a crisis is to trust the public to handle the truth”.

Senator Mazie Hirono (D), Hawaii’s junior Senator, also has a political track record associated with high profile sexual misconduct. Because Mazie Hirono is a member of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, her responses deserve a deeper analysis.
In 2017, the resignation of Senator Al Franken (D-Minnesota) over a series of allegations that he had groped or kissed women without their consent was viewed as a pivotal moment in the long history of sexual abuse on Capitol Hill. As the allegations mounted, thirty senators from his own party, joined by two independents, placed what he later called a tremendous amount of pressure on Franken to resign, which he did. Franken resigned without any investigation substantiating the allegations. There were no calls for an investigation. There were only calls for his resignation. Senator Mazie Hirono was one of the 30 Democratic Senators who
eventually called on Franken to resign.

Hirono said that she struggled with the decision because Franken had been a good Senator and that she considered him a friend. Hirono explained that
she eventually made her decision because Franken’s performance and friendship could not be used as an excuse for his behavior and his mistreatment of women.
Not long after Al Franken resigned, sexual assault allegations against then Democratic
front-runner and now President Joe Biden trickled in from the world of online news into the mainstream media. All but one of the thirty-two senators who called for Franken’s resignation, stayed quiet on the Biden allegations.

Mazie Hirono remained quiet on Joe Biden. Only Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) called for both Franken and Biden to step down. In explaining his rationale, Brown said, “Every woman has a right to be heard without fear of intimidation or
retribution, and I will always fight for that right”. Mazie Hirono obviously did not believe Tara Reade’s allegation, or deem that she needed to be protected, nor have a right to be heard.

On September 16, 2020, Christine Blasey Ford came forward with the allegation that
Associate Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party when she was fifteen and he was seventeen. Then Senator Hirono responded with a blunt message to America’s men. “Guess who’s perpetuating all of these kinds of actions? It’s the men in this country,” she said. “And I just want to say to the men in this country, just shut up, and step up! Do the right thing for a change”.

Later, despite the absence of any investigation, Hirono said of Christine Blasey Ford, “I believe her”. There was no similar language about Tara Reade. Joe Biden was a 21-year sitting U.S. Senator in 1993 at the time Tara Reade’s allegations occurred. In 1993, Joe Biden was then a 51- year old, married, father. He had campaigned unsuccessfully for the Democratic Party’s nomination for President in 1988. He was mature and powerful. Tara Reade, herself, was a perceivably troubled, self-aggrandizing, attractive, and very vulnerable victim.

A victim having all the right circumstances leading a sexual predator to anticipate a higher probability of remaining quiet after an assault, whether successful or not. Hirono was quiet on Tara Reade and Joe Biden. However, against a 17-year-old high school boy, who was not a legal adult at the time of alleged misconduct, Hirono was loud and clear. Kavanaugh’s real sin was that he had been nominated by a Republican President.

Now we go to the present day and the Governor Andrew Cuomo sexual misconduct
allegations. Two weeks ago, on February 28, 2021, Hirono said on ABC’s This Week Sunday, “The New York Attorney General should launch an independent investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Governor Andrew Cuomo. The proper response for any of this kind of allegations of reprehensible, inexcusable behavior is to listen to the — mainly women who come forward … and then to do the appropriate investigation and corroboration of the allegations”. After Senators Schumer and Gillibrand have come out in favor of Cuomo’s resignation, Hirono will not be far behind.

There is demonstrated disparity in Hirono’s taken positions on sexual misconduct by
prominent Democratic and Republican political leaders. Hirono’s taken positions are themselves partisan induced fluctuations. Hers are political acts intended to preserve and advance her party’s power. Her reactions are not strong, ethical convictions to protect the weak from powerful intimidation regardless of political party affiliations. There is respected opinion substantiating Hirono’s varying politically induced sexual misconduct responses.

The late liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg referred to her colleague Justice Brett Kavanaugh as a very decent person as she herself lamented what she characterized as the dysfunction surrounding the confirmation process for new Supreme Court Justices. Ginsburg expressed displeasure with the nature of Kavanaugh’s specific confirmation process slamming it as a highly partisan show. Hirono was a big part of that particular partisan show.

At least Christine Blasey Ford was protected, investigated, and heard. Because Andrew Cuomo is now a beyond-Al Franken-like political liability and is an opposing intra-party-political chess piece that is vulnerable and can be removed, Hirono has called for an investigation and will shortly call for resignation. Perhaps Andrew Cuomo’s alleged victims will too be protected and heard. Tara Reade was never heard nor protected. Joe Biden was heard and protected. Mazie Hirono was quiet.