Schumer, Gillibrand call on Cuomo to resign

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) late Friday called on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to resign amid growing sexual harassment allegations against him.

In a joint statement, the two senators, who had come under pressure themselves to call on Cuomo to resign after other state officials and House lawmakers from New York had done so, said it would be difficult for him to continue to govern given the controversies.

“Confronting and overcoming the Covid crisis requires sure and steady leadership,” the two senators said.

“We commend the brave actions of the individuals who have come forward with serious allegations of abuse and misconduct,” they continued. “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.”

A spokesperson for Cuomo did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

The statement from New York’s two senators marks another blow to Cuomo, who faced a new wave of calls for his resignation Friday as the dam appeared to break with members of the Empire State’s congressional delegation.

Included among the New York Democrats who said earlier Friday that Cuomo should leave were a slew of high-profile lawmakers, including Rep. Jerry Nadler, the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, and Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman.

“The repeated accusations against the governor, and the manner in which he has responded to them, have made it impossible for him to continue to govern at this point,” Nadler said.

“As members of the New York delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives, 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,” Ocasio-Cortez and Bowman added in a joint statement. 

New York Democratic Reps. Mondaire Jones, Carolyn Maloney, Yvette Clarke, Nydia Velázquez and Grace Meng have also called for Cuomo’s resignation.

The growing chorus pushing for Cuomo’s departure comes as the governor faces mounting allegations of harassment from former aides and others as well as scrutiny over his handling of the COVID-19 crisis.

Cuomo’s administration has come under bipartisan fire after it was revealed it intentionally undercounted the number of people in New York nursing homes who died from COVID-19 out of fear that the Trump administration would launch an investigation.

The firestorm surrounding the allegations against Cuomo grew Thursday when it was revealed that the Albany Police Department received a referral for one of the harassment claims against the governor, and again late Friday morning when Jessica Bakeman, a former New York statehouse reporter, became the seventh woman to say that the governor had harassed her.

Cuomo has faced allegations of groping and unwanted kissing, and women who have come out against him have also said he asked personal questions about their sex lives and made other inappropriate comments in the workplace.

In addition to the growing opposition from members of the New York congressional delegation, Cuomo is also facing an independent investigation by state Attorney General Letitia James (D) into the harassment allegations. And New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D) said Thursday that the Assembly Judiciary Committee would open its own inquiry that could lead to Cuomo’s impeachment.

Cuomo remained defiant earlier Friday, saying he would not leave office and succumb to “cancel culture.”

“Politicians who don’t know a single fact but yet form a conclusion and an opinion are in my opinion reckless and dangerous. The people of New York should not have confidence in a politician who takes an opinion without knowing the facts and substance,” Cuomo said. “People know the difference between playing politics, bowing to cancel culture and the truth. Let the review proceed, I’m not going to resign, I was not elected by the politicians, I was elected by the people.”

Updated: 6:25 p.m.

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Andrew Cuomo Andrew Cuomo sexual harassment allegations Carolyn Maloney Chuck Schumer Grace Meng Jerry Nadler Kirsten Gillibrand Yvette Clarke
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