Pressure is mounting on New York Governor Cuomo to step down if new allegations arise
On Thursday, the bad news continued for embattled New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is under investigation for both multiple allegations of sexual misconduct and nursing home abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fifty-nine lawmakers urged the three-time governor to step down Thursday after a sixth report was released: The Albany Times-Union reported, citing a source with direct knowledge, that an aide-de-camp said Cuomo had her at the governor’s mansion last year groped in Albany. Cuomo denied the charges, while describing the details of the allegation as “good-natured”.
The 59 lawmakers, all Democrats like Cuomo, said the evidence had become insurmountable.
“Given the governor’s admission of inappropriate behavior and the results of changed data on COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes, he has lost the trust of the public and the state parliament, making him ineffective at this time of most pressing need,” said a letter said by lawmakers. “It is time for Governor Cuomo to step down.” According to reports, the New York State Assembly is forming a summons committee to investigate Cuomo.
The New York Times reported Thursday that the latest allegation had been forwarded to the Albany Police. A police spokesman made it clear that a formal investigation into the governor had not necessarily been opened, but that the department had offered its services to the alleged sixth victim, “as we would with any other report or incident.”
Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York, left, and Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York City, in 2018. (Kevin Hagen / AP File).
Alongside dozens of lawmakers, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, also called for his longtime rival to step down on Thursday.
“The specific allegation that the governor called one of his employees, called someone he had power over, called them in private and then sexually assaulted them, is absolutely unacceptable,” de Blasio told reporters. “It’s disgusting to me and he can no longer serve as governor.”
On Sunday, New York Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins urged Cuomo to resign after the fifth prosecutor’s story was published in the Wall Street Journal.
The story goes on
“Every day there is a different report that stands out from the government business. We have allegations of sexual harassment, a toxic work environment, the loss of credibility related to the COVID-19 nursing home data and questions about building an important infrastructure project,” said Stewart cousins in a statement. “New York is still in the midst of this pandemic and still facing the social, health and economic repercussions. We must rule without daily distraction. For the good of the state, Governor Cuomo must step down.”
Attorney General Letitia James’ office is conducting an independent investigation into the allegations. Cuomo said he would not resign and urged New Yorkers to wait for the results of the investigation at a briefing last week. He also apologized, saying he had never touched anyone inappropriately.
“I never knew then that I was making someone feel uncomfortable and I certainly never wanted to offend or hurt anyone or cause pain,” said Cuomo. “This is the last thing I ever want to do.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever done anything in my public career that I’m ashamed of,” he added.
Protesters in Cuomo’s Manhattan office on Wednesday. (Shannon Stapleton / Reuters)
The first allegations came in late February when two women accused Cuomo of wrongdoing. Lindsey Boylan, who served as the governor’s advisor and is now a candidate for Manhattan District President, said he has “created a culture in his administration that is so widespread as to condone sexual harassment and bullying, but also to be expected. His inappropriate behavior towards women was an affirmation that he liked you, that you have to do something right. He used intimidation to silence his critics. And if you dared to speak up, you would face consequences. “Boylan also described an incident where the governor gave her an unsolicited kiss on the lips.
Charlotte Bennett, another former adjutant, said he repeatedly asked her inappropriate questions, including when Bennett, 25, viewed age as a factor in their sexual relationships. Cuomo is 63.
“I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me, and I felt terribly uncomfortable and scared,” said Bennett. “And I was wondering how to get out of there and assumed it was the end of my job.” Four more women have come forward since Bennett’s allegations, including other former aides.
Cuomo was first elected governor in 2010. Prior to his current position, he was Attorney General and Secretary for Housing and Urban Development under President Bill Clinton. Cuomo’s father Mario was also three-time governor of New York. His brother Chris is a CNN anchor.
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