New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is facing calls from several prominent members of his own political party to resign from office in light of a recently released report that alleges he sexually harassed multiple women.
The entire Democratic congressional delegation from New York has called on Cuomo to exit his post, including both Democratic Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California) has also said the New York governor should step down, as has President Joe Biden.
“I think he should resign,” Biden said to reporters at the White House on Tuesday, after the report was released.
State Democratic lawmakers have also indicated they will likely seek to impeach Cuomo over his conduct.
“It is abundantly clear to me that the Governor has lost the confidence of the Assembly Democratic majority and that he can no longer remain in office,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Democrat from New York City.
Heastie added that he and other lawmakers would “move expeditiously and look to conclude” an ongoing impeachment investigation in the Assembly “as quickly as possible.”
The New York Times editorial board has also called for Cuomo to resign. The board wrote:
Mr. Cuomo has always had a self-serving streak and been known for his political bullying. He also has used those traits to be an effective politician and, in many of his achievements as governor, won the public’s trust. What this report lays out, however, are credible accusations that can’t be looked past.
“If Mr. Cuomo cares for the well-being of the state and its citizens as much as he has said he does over the years, he needs to do the right thing and step down,” the Times concluded.
It isn’t just politicians and newspapers that are calling for Cuomo to step down, however. A snap poll conducted by Marist on Tuesday found that 63 percent of registered voters in the state also want Cuomo to resign, with only 29 percent saying he should stay in office for the remainder of his term.
The independent investigation on Cuomo’s behavior in office, released by state Attorney General Letitia James’s office on Tuesday, revealed that at least 11 women (nine of whom were or are state employees) said the New York governor had sexually harassed them. The report corroborated these women’s accusations by listening to testimonies from 179 other individuals, and by reviewing around 74,000 documents, including texts and emails.
Cuomo is alleged to have groped the women’s breasts and other parts of their body, and to have run his hands and fingers over their bodies. He also used “sexually suggestive” language toward several women, commenting on their appearances or asking them about who they were dating.
Cuomo has denied the allegations, claiming that his accusers misinterpreted ordinary gestures of platonic affection.
“I want you to know directly from me that I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances,” Cuomo said in a taped response to the report’s release.
But James rejected those claims by the governor. Although her office is not currently pursuing criminal charges against him, James suggested that Cuomo’s actions toward these women “violated multiple state and federal laws.”
“This investigation has revealed conduct that corrodes the very fabric that makes our state government and shines a light on injustice present at the highest levels of state government,” James added.