New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday afternoon that he would not resign, despite mounting pressure from prominent New York U.S. representatives calling for him to step down.
His announcement followed a cascade of statements Friday morning from Democratic members of the state’s congressional delegation asking for his resignation in the face of multiple sexual misconduct allegations and an ongoing investigation into the state’s reporting of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes.
“Women have a right to come forward and be heard and I encourage that fully,” Cuomo said in a call with reporters. “But I also want to be clear, there is still a question of the truth. I did not do what has been alleged.”
After Cuomo’s comments, the state’s U.S. senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand released a statement saying, “Due to the multiple, credible sexual harassment and misconduct allegations, it is clear that Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of his governing partners and the people of New York. Governor Cuomo should resign.”
Just hours earlier, at least a dozen of the state’s prominent House Democrats, including Rep. Jerry Nadler, said the challenges the governor faces make him unable to lead effectively.
Nadler, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, said in a statement that Cuomo had “lost the confidence of the people of New York.”
“The repeated accusations against the Governor, and the manner in which he has responded to them, have made it impossible for him to govern at this point,” he said.
Read my statement calling for the resignation of Governor Andrew Cuomo. pic.twitter.com/JyZntu9HJS
— Rep. Nadler (@RepJerryNadler) March 12, 2021
Nadler’s statement and others came after more accusers stepped forward, including an unidentified female aide who said Cuomo groped her at the governor’s mansion last year.
Her story was first reported by the Albany Times Union newspaper Wednesday.
Another woman, Jessica Bakeman, alleged in a New York Magazine essay published Friday that the governor touched her inappropriately while she was working as a statehouse reporter several years ago.
Bakeman, who now works at an NPR member station in Florida, recounted a time when Cuomo “humiliated” her at a holiday party he hosted for the Albany press corps in 2014. When she approached the governor to thank him for the invitation, Cuomo took her hand, put an arm around her waist and “held [her] firmly in place” while asking a photographer to take their picture.
Bakeman said that during the interaction, Cuomo, in front of other reporters, said to her, “I’m sorry. Am I making you uncomfortable? I thought we were going steady.”
U.S. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman also called for the governor to resign in a joint statement Friday.
“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, including the State Senate Majority Leader, who have concluded that Governor Cuomo can no longer effectively lead in the face of so many challenges,” they said.
After two accounts of sexual assault, four accounts of harassment, the Attorney General’s investigation finding the Governor’s admin hid nursing home data from the legislature & public, we agree with the 55+ members of the New York State legislature that the Governor must resign. pic.twitter.com/jV5dwtuVPr
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 12, 2021
U.S. Reps. Grace Meng, Yvette Clarke, Antonio Delgado, Nydia Velázquez, Brian Higgins, Mondaire Jones, Carolyn Maloney, Sean Patrick Maloney and Adriano Espaillat are also calling for Cuomo to step down.
In pointed remarks Friday afternoon, Cuomo seemed to respond to these calls by criticizing “politicians” for weighing in “without knowing any facts or substance.”
“Politicians who don’t know a single fact but yet form a conclusion and an opinion are, in my opinion, reckless and dangerous,” he said. “Politicians take positions for all sorts of reasons, including political expediency and bowing to pressure.”
The speaker of the New York Assembly on Thursday authorized the Judiciary Committee to begin an impeachment investigation into the misconduct allegations against the governor.
Cuomo added that he would not give in to “cancel culture” and that he wants the ongoing inquiries into his behavior to proceed.