State Watch

Calls mount for Cuomo to resign

A growing number of New York Democratic legislators are calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to resign in the midst of mounting accusations of improper behavior around women.

Six state legislators aligned with democratic socialists said Tuesday that Cuomo should quit after a third woman accused him of unwanted advances at a wedding reception in 2019.

The legislators - Sens. Julia Salazar (D) and Jabari Brisport (D) and Assembly members Emily Gallagher (D), Pharma Souffrant Forrest (D), Zohran Mamdani (D) and Marcela Mitaynes (D) - said they would move to impeach Cuomo.

"Gov. Cuomo has repeatedly abused his power and yet has faced no accountability," the legislators said in a joint statement. "We must utilize every mechanism to lead a process commensurate with the severity of the governor's multiple abuses of power."

They joined the Working Families Party, which called on Cuomo to resign earlier Tuesday, citing his "reign of fear, harassment and intimidation."

Calls for Cuomo's ouster began last month, after his administration admitted it had withheld details about the number of coronavirus patients who had died in nursing homes in hopes of avoiding an investigation by the Trump administration. More legislators and political activists urged Cuomo to quit after two former aides accused him of harassment.

Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara (D) told The Hill on Monday that several colleagues were on the brink of publicly abandoning a governor who has never worked hard to cultivate allies.

"I firmly believe that the governor's resignation is for the good of the state at this point," Santabarbara said. "He's finally getting the hint that he's not going to get away with this."

Late Monday, after the third woman accused Cuomo of improprieties, Rep. Kathleen Rice (D) became the first Democratic member of Congress from New York to urge Cuomo to quit.

"The time has come. The Governor must resign," Rice wrote on Twitter.

 

New York state Attorney General Letitia James (D) has opened an investigation into Cuomo's behavior, one she pledged would be free from interference. Cuomo's office said it had ordered staffers to cooperate with the investigation, the results of which will be made public.

The growing pressure on Cuomo comes in the midst of what are likely to be tense budget negotiations between the legislature and the governor. The State Assembly spent Monday working on a raft of legislation reforming the nursing home industry in the wake of the coronavirus that raced through their residents last year.

"Dealing with an issue like this eats up a lot of time. It will certainly make three-way budget negotiations difficult," Assemblyman Dick Gottfried (D) told The Hill on Tuesday. "Most issues get ironed out at the level of staff and individual legislators and don't rise to the level of the legislative leadership negotiating directly with the governor. But the issues that get to that level are by definition the toughest. So this kind of difficulty, as long as it is unresolved, can make doing a budget very difficult." 

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