House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said March 17 that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo should resign if the probe confirms the sexual harassment allegations against him, joining President Joe Biden who made similar comments the day before.
“People have to unlearn some bad behavior in order to learn how we should go forward, and again, if these allegations are proven to be true, then zero tolerance would follow that the governor should not continue,” Pelosi said during an interview on MSNBC.
Pelosi described what happened as “heartbreaking,” and said, “We have zero tolerance for the behavior that is alleged against the governor, and again, I think he is a supporter of zero tolerance in terms of sexual harassment.”
Days ago, Pelosi was pressed on why she hadn’t called on Cuomo to resign. During a March 14 interview with ABC, Pelosi suggested it was up to Cuomo whether or not he should continue in office.
“I think we should see the results of the investigation … but he may decide,” Pelosi responded at the time. “And hopefully, this result will be soon. What I’m saying is the governor should look inside his heart—he loves New York—to see if he can govern effectively. And that could be one of the considerations that he has.”
Biden made similar comments on March 16, saying that Cuomo could potentially face prosecution if a probe confirms the allegations against him. Biden was asked by ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos about Cuomo’s fate, and specifically whether he should resign if the investigation confirms the women’s claims. So far at least six women have come forward to accuse the governor of inappropriate behavior.
“Yes,” Biden said in response. “I think he’ll probably end up being prosecuted, too.”
“Here’s my position … a woman should be presumed to be telling the truth, should not be scapegoated and become victimized by her coming forward—but there should be an investigation to determine whether what she says is true.”
Later in the interview, Biden said, “There could be a criminal prosecution attached to it, I just don’t know.”
The president’s comments mark his strongest response yet on Cuomo. The governor—who is also facing scrutiny and criticism over how he handled nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic—has repeatedly refused to resign and has urged the public to wait for the results of the investigation.
Both Pelosi and Biden stopped short of calling for Cuomo’s immediate resignation.
On March 12, Cuomo again said he won’t resign from office after more than a dozen New York Democratic legislators said he should step down.
“People know the difference between playing politics, bowing to cancel culture, and the truth. Let the review proceed. I’m not going to resign,” the New York Democrat said in a conference call.
Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), among others, said he should step down amid the allegations. And New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said recently that Cuomo “just can’t serve as governor anymore.”
Jack Phillips contributed to this report