More than 10 members of New York’s Democratic congressional delegation, including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jerry Nadler, called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign Friday amid multiple claims of sexual harassment and assault against him.
“This week, the second sexual assault allegation and the sixth harassment allegation was leveled against Governor Cuomo,” Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Jamaal Bowman said in a joint statement. “The fact that this latest report was so recent is alarming, and it raises concerns about the present safety and well-being of the administration's staff. These allegations have all been consistent and highly detailed, and there are also credible media reports substantiating their accounts.
“Unfortunately, the governor is not only facing the accusation that he engaged in a pattern of sexual harassment and assault,” their statement continued. “There is also the extensive report from the attorney general that found the Cuomo administration hid data on COVID-19 nursing home deaths from both the public and the state legislature.”
They added: “We believe these women, we believe the reporting, we believe the Attorney General, and we believe the fifty-five members of the New York State legislature ... who have concluded that Governor Cuomo can no longer effectively lead in the face of so many challenges.”
Nadler, who has served in Congress for nearly three decades and chairs the House Judiciary Committee, also released a statement calling for Cuomo’s resignation.
“Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of the people of New York,” Nadler’s statement read. “Governor Cuomo must resign.”
On March 1, Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice, who represents part of Long Island, had urged Cuomo to resign. Linking to an interview with his third accuser, Rice tweeted, “The time has come. The governor must resign.”
During a conference call with reporters Friday afternoon, Cuomo remained defiant.
"Women have a right to come forward and be heard," Cuomo said. "But there is still a question of the truth. I did not do what has been alleged, period."
Cuomo criticized the lawmakers for “playing politics and bowing to cancel culture.”
“Politicians who don't know a single fact but yet form a conclusion and then an option are, in my opinion, reckless and dangerous,” he said. “The people of New York should not have confidence in a politician who takes a position without knowing any facts or substance. That, my friends, is politics at its worst.”
Cuomo has been accused of sexual harassment by at least six women, with the first of the claims being made in late February. The most recent, according to the Albany Times-Union, involves an aide who said Cuomo groped her at the governor’s mansion in Albany last year. Cuomo denied the charge, while calling the details of the allegation “gut-wrenching.” That story has served as the tipping point for a number of Democratic politicians.
A majority of state legislators have also now called for the governor to resign, after 59 Democratic Assembly members and state senators issued a statement on Thursday saying the evidence had become insurmountable.
“In light of the governor’s admission of inappropriate behavior and the findings of altered data on nursing home COVID-19 deaths he has lost the confidence of the public and the state legislature, rendering him ineffective in this time of most urgent need,” a letter from the legislators said. “It is time for Governor Cuomo to resign.” The New York State Assembly, which has the power to impeach Cuomo, authorized its Judiciary Committee to begin a formal investigation into the governor, with subpoena power.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a longtime rival of the governor, has also called on him to resign, saying Thursday, "The specific allegation that the governor called an employee of his, someone who he had power over, called them to a private place and then sexually assaulted her, it's absolutely unacceptable."
Cuomo has denied touching anyone inappropriately and urged New Yorkers to wait for the independent investigation from the office of New York State Attorney General Letitia James. He apologized at a press conference last week and said he would not resign.
“I never knew at the time that I was making anyone feel uncomfortable, and I certainly never, ever meant to offend anyone or hurt anyone or cause anyone any pain,” Cuomo said. “That is the last thing I would ever want to do.”
“I do not believe I have ever done anything in my public career that I am ashamed of,” he added.
In addition to the sexual harassment investigations, Cuomo is under scrutiny for his handling of assisted-living facilities during the pandemic, including accusations that the state hid deaths.
It’s been a dramatic fall for the governor, who was lauded for his COVID-19 briefings last spring, winning an Emmy and publishing a book in October titled “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons From the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
Cuomo was first elected governor in 2010. Prior to holding his current position, he served as the state’s attorney general and as secretary of housing and urban development under President Bill Clinton. Cuomo’s father, Mario, was also a three-term governor of New York. His brother, Chris, is a CNN anchor.
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