Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) issued a joint statement Friday in which they called on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to resign as the governor faces duelings scandals over his alleged cover-up of nursing home deaths and sexual harassment allegations brought forth by at least seven women.
“Confronting and overcoming the Covid [coronavirus] crisis requires sure and steady leadership. We commend the brave actions of the individuals who have come forward with serious allegations of abuse and misconduct. 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,” the statement reads.
Schumer and Gillibrand had previously resisted pressure to call on Cuomo to step down, instead emphasizing the importance of New York Attorney General Letitia James’ independent investigation into the allegations.
Earlier Friday, nearly the entire New York Democrat congressional delegation, including House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler and House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, called on the governor to leave his post immediately.
“The bravery individuals have shown in coming forward to share their experiences with Governor Cuomo is inspiring, and I stand with them in support,” Nadler said in a statement. “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.
“Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of the people of New York,” he added. “Governor Cuomo must resign.”
Shortly after the calls to resign poured in, Cuomo once again affirmed that he would not step down, instead insisting that he is in fact a victim of “cancel culture.”
“There are facts and then there are opinions. And I’ve always separated the two,” Cuomo told reporters during a press conference. “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 a position without knowing any facts or substance. That, my friends, is politics at its worst,” the governor added. “People know the difference between playing politics, bowing to cancel culture, and the truth,” he said.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Friday declined to say whether Biden believes Cuomo should resign. She said every woman who has come forth about harassment by the New York governor “deserves to have her voice heard, should be treated with respect and should be able to tell her story.”
Dozens of Democrats had already called on Cuomo to resign this week, but the coalition of critics expanded geographically and politically on Friday to include the likes of New York City progressive U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; the leader of the House Democratic campaign arm, U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney; Buffalo-based U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins; and a group of Long Island-based state lawmakers who had been Cuomo loyalists.
Never before has the brash, 63-year-old Democratic governor — the son of a New York governor himself — been more politically alone.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.