New York Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said Sunday that Gov. Andrew Cuomo should resign from office after more women came forward and accused him of harassment and inappropriate behavior, while state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie appeared to agree with her statement and questioned the governor’s ability to lead the state.
Hours before that, the Democrat governor insisted to reporters in a call that he wouldn’t resign from office and said the attacks against him are politically motivated.
“Every day there is another account that is drawing away from the business of government. We have allegations about sexual harassment, a toxic work environment, the loss of credibility surrounding the COVID-19 nursing home data and questions about the construction of a major infrastructure project,” Stewart-Cousins said in a statement.
Previously, Stewart-Cousins, a Democrat, said she would call for Cuomo’s resignation if a fourth woman accused him of harassment. So far, five women have done so.
“New York is still in the midst of this pandemic and is still facing the societal, health, and economic impacts of it. We need to govern without daily distraction. For the good of the state Governor Cuomo needs to resign,” she added in her statement.
Heastie, also a Democrat, said that the allegations against Cuomo “have been deeply disturbing,” echoing Stewart-Cousins in her calls for resignation.
“I too share the sentiment of Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, regarding Cuomo’s ability to lead this state. We may have many challenges to address, and I think it’s time for the Governor to seriously consider whether he can effectively meet the needs of the people of New York,” he said.
Heastie and Stewart-Cousins are the two most powerful elected officials in New York state to call for the governor’s resignation.
On Sunday, Cuomo balked at the calls that he should step down.
“I was elected by the people of the state. … I’m not going to resign because of allegations,” Cuomo said, adding that New York Attorney General Letitia James is investigating the claims. “There is no way I resign.”
Over the weekend, Karen Hinton—one of the governor’s former press aides—alleged that Cuomo called her to his hotel room and made inappropriate advances. Cuomo said that her allegations are “not true” and described her as a “long-time political adversary,” suggesting she has a political impetus.
Ana Liss, a fourth accuser, told the Wall Street Journal on Saturday that Cuomo kissed her hand, asked if she had a boyfriend, and made other comments to her that she described as inappropriate.
Rich Azzopardi, a senior adviser to Cuomo, denied Liss’s claims, telling the Wall Street Journal that “reporters and photographers have covered the governor for 14 years watching him kiss men and women and posing for pictures.”
“At the public open-house mansion reception, there are hundreds of people, and he poses for hundreds of pictures. That’s what people in politics do,” the spokesman said.
But some have speculated that the allegations against Cuomo are simply a means to distract people from the growing scandal involving nursing home COVID-19 deaths. Reports, including one from James, found that his administration may have covered up the number of deaths by as much as 50 percent, although Cuomo denied the allegations. COVID-19 is the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
Among those who are skeptical include Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who told The Epoch Times that the reason why Cuomo is facing blowback by mainstream news outlets is because “Kamala Harris is now vice president, the de facto president, and the chosen standard-bearer for the Democratic Party.”
Nunes added, “So the party’s power brokers are zeroing in on Cuomo as well as California Governor Gavin Newsom, who are her most likely rivals. Meanwhile, the legacy media is helping the party go after her competitors, while Big Tech is obediently lifting the filter from Cuomo and allowing the attacks to score.”