Biden calls on Cuomo to resign after harassment probe
President Biden on Tuesday called for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to resign after the state attorney general concluded the governor sexually harassed numerous state employees.
“I think he should resign,” Biden told reporters.
“I’m sure there were some embraces that were totally innocent. But apparently, the attorney general decided there were things that weren’t,” he added when asked about Cuomo highlighting instances of Biden hugging others in his defense.
Biden in March told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that Cuomo should resign and potentially face criminal prosecution if an investigation validated allegations of sexual harassment.
New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) on Tuesday released the findings of a months-long investigation that concluded Cuomo sexually harassed multiple state employees, including a state trooper assigned to his security detail, and created a hostile work environment.
“Specifically, the investigation found that Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed current and former New York state employees by engaging in unwelcome and nonconsensual touching and making numerous offensive comments of a suggestive and sexual nature that created a hostile work environment for women,” James said at a news conference detailing the findings.
James noted the report was a civil one, not one that would result in criminal referrals.
Biden joined scores of other Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), in calling for Cuomo to step down in light of James’s findings.
Cuomo was defiant in a pre-recorded response to the investigation, denying wrongdoing and saying he would not resign.
“The facts are much different than what has been portrayed,” Cuomo said. At one point, photos of Cuomo hugging and kissing family members and state leaders played as the governor argued it showed he is an affectionate person who did not mean to make others uncomfortable.
New York Democrats have overwhelmingly called on Cuomo to step down. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), a strong advocate for sexual assault survivors, reiterated her call for Cuomo to resign in the wake of the attorney general’s report, and Reps. Hakeem Jeffires (D-N.Y.), Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) and Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.) joined the chorus of lawmakers urging the governor to step down as well.
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), who would replace Cuomo if he resigned or were removed from office, called his behavior documented in the attorney general’s report “repulsive and unlawful,” but stopped short of calling for him to step down, citing her place in the line of succession.
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