President Joe Biden said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a fellow Democrat, should resign from office following a state attorney general report that alleged he engaged in a pattern of sexual harassment and intimidation that violated state and federal laws.
“I think he should resign,” Biden said on Tuesday afternoon during a news conference, adding that “the state legislature may decide to impeach” him. A number of other New York Democrats, including the state’s congressional delegation, called on Cuomo to step down.
Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, told reporters before Biden’s comments that she would leave discussing the allegations against Cuomo up to him.
“I don’t know that anyone could have watched this morning and not found the allegations to be abhorrent. I know I certainly did,” Psaki said. “All women who have lived through this type of experience, whether it is harassment or abuse or, in the worst case, assault, deserve to have their voices heard, deserve to be treated with respect and with dignity.”
But in response to the attorney general’s report, Cuomo released a video denying the allegations and remained defiant against calls for his ouster.
“I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances,” said Cuomo in a pre-recorded video that included photos of him kissing or hugging people in public as evidence that it’s just in his nature to be friendly.
It came after New York Attorney General Letitia James, also a Democrat, said in a lengthy report that he engaged in sexual harassment and his chamber mishandled allegations against him.
“Specifically, we find that the Governor sexually harassed a number of current and former New York State employees by, among other things, engaging in unwelcome and nonconsensual touching, as well as making numerous offensive comments of a suggestive and sexual nature that created a hostile work environment for women,” her report said, adding that Cuomo’s office was filled with “fear and intimidation.”
James said that the investigation is completed and won’t be pursuing any criminal charges or civil legal action against Cuomo.
Albany’s district attorney’s office, meanwhile, is criminally investigating the governor, according to a statement on Tuesday.
District Attorney David Soares said his office would welcome any additional alleged victim to come forward with a statement about Cuomo.
“Along with the public, today we have been made aware of the final independent report from AG Letitia James’ office regarding Governor Cuomo’s conduct as they relate to violations of civil harassment statutes,” Soares said in a statement, adding: “As this matter is developing we are reviewing the document from the Attorney General today, we will refrain from any additional public comment at this time regarding the status of the ongoing criminal investigation by our office.”
Biden was also criticized in April 2019 after a former Nevada state lawmaker accused him of inappropriate behavior that made her feel uncomfortable. And Tara Reade, a former staffer for Biden when he was a Delaware U.S. senator, alleged he assaulted her back in the early 1990s. Biden denied the allegations.