The pressure on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign is growing.
On Friday afternoon, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, also of New York, issued a joint statement calling on the embattled governor to step down amid mounting accusations of sexual harassment. “It is clear that Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of his governing partners and the people of New York,” the senators wrote. “Governor Cuomo should resign.”
Their statement came on the heels of others issued Friday by prominent members of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York, including House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler. “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 wrote in a statement.
Democratic Reps. Jamaal Bowman, Yvette Clarke, Antonio Delgado, Adriano Espaillat, Brian Higgins, Mondaire Jones, Carolyn Maloney, Sean Maloney, Grace Meng, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Nydia Velázquez and Kathleen Rice are among the New York representatives who’ve demanded for the governor resign. At least 13 of the 19 members in the New York delegation have now called for Cuomo to step down. The shrinking list of those who haven’t includes House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries (often cited as a top candidate to succeed Nancy Pelosi), Rep. Gregory Meeks, and Rep. Tom Suozzi.
“Unfortunately, the Governor is not only facing the accusation that he engaged in a pattern of sexual harassment and assault,” Reps. Bowman and Ocasio-Coretz wrote in a joint statement. “There is also the extensive report from the Attorney General that found the Cuomo administration hid data on COVID-19 nursing home deaths from both the public and the state legislature.”
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
The pressure from Congress comes a day after 55 Democratic members of the New York State Assembly added their names to the list of former allies demanding the powerful political scion resign. The letter was issued after a report that the governor may have sexually harassed a sixth woman was published in an Albany newspaper.
“In light of the Governor’s admission of inappropriate behavior and the findings of altered data on nursing home COVID-19 deaths he has lost the confidence of the public and the state legislature, rendering him ineffective in this time of most urgent need,” the lawmakers’ joint statement said. “We have a Lieutenant Governor who can step in and lead for the remainder of the term, and this is what is best for New Yorkers in this critical time. It is time for Governor Cuomo to resign.”
With Thursday’s letter, more than one-third of state assembly’s members — incredibly, most of them members of Cuomo’s own party — are now on record saying they have lost confidence in the governor’s leadership.
Among the signatories to Thursday’s letter was Assemblyman Ron Kim, a vocal critic of Cuomo’s handling of data on nursing home deaths during the pandemic. Kim’s uncle among the more than 9,000 New York nursing home residents who died from presumed cases of Covid-19 last year. A top Cuomo aide later admitted the administration tried to hide the stunning number of nursing home-related deaths in New York by classifying separately deaths that occurred after residents were transferred to hospitals. In February, Kim said Cuomo threatened personally, vowing to “destroy” the Queens lawmaker’s career.
Kim’s decision to speak publicly about the governor’s intimidation tactics appears to have encouraged others to come forward with their own account of mistreatment. After he spoke out, multiple women who worked for Cuomo have come forward alleging sexual harassment by the three-term governor.
The Albany Times Union, a newspaper for the capital region, reported Wednesday of a new complaint against the governor. According to the report, a member of Cuomo’s staff was summoned to the governor’s mansion to help with him with tech issue, but when she arrived, the woman claims Cuomo closed the door to the room they were in and groped her. The woman involved in that incident has not spoken publicly about it; another member of Cuomo’s staff alerted the woman’s supervisors to her experience.
Among the other voices calling on Cuomo to resign are New York City mayoral candidates Kathryn Garcia, Carlos Menchaca Scott Stringer, and Maya Wiley; New York Reps. Nicole Malliotakis (R), Elise Stefanik (R), Lee Zeldin (R), and Kathleen Rice (D).
It’s all a swift reversal of fortune for Cuomo, who was widely praised for leadership earlier in the pandemic — winning an Emmy award for his daily briefings. The son of four-term Governor Mario Cuomo, Cuomo has said he plans to seek reelection in 2022. He was re-elected in 2018 with nearly 60 percent of the vote.
This post has been updated.