Top New York Lawmakers Call on Cuomo to Resign After Third Sexual Harassment Accusation

March 2, 2021 Updated: March 2, 2021

A growing number of New York legislators are pushing Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign, after a third woman came forward with sexual harassment accusations against him.

Anna Ruch, 33, said Monday that she and Cuomo, a Democrat, met at a wedding in 2019 and that the governor made unwanted advances toward her, including asking whether he could kiss her. A photograph showed Cuomo gripping Ruch’s head with both of his hands.

Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) shared a story about Ruch’s allegations on Twitter, writing: “The time has come. The governor must resign.”

“Cuomo weaponized the Moreland Commission against his political opponents. Several of his close associates have been convicted of corruption. He hid nursing home deaths. And now he’s facing multiple allegations of sexual harassment. The pattern is clear. Cuomo must resign,” added Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.).

State lawmakers joined the call, including some Democrats.

“It’s time for Governor Cuomo to resign,” state Assemblywoman Jessica González-Rojas, a Democrat, said in a statement late Monday.

“I’ve seen more than enough as well,” state Democrat Sen. Gustavo Rivera said, adding that Cuomo “needs to resign.”

“How many more women need to come forward? Governor Cuomo needs to resign,” state Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez wrote on Twitter.

Cuomo’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. He released a statement on Sunday saying he “never intended to offend anyone or cause any harm.”

“At work sometimes I think I am being playful and make jokes that I think are funny. I do, on occasion, tease people in what I think is a good-natured way. I do it in public and in private. You have seen me do it at briefings hundreds of times. I have teased people about their personal lives, their relationships, about getting married or not getting married. I mean no offense and only attempt to add some levity and banter to what is a very serious business,” added Cuomo, who was already facing criticism after his office acknowledged withholding nursing home resident death data amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I now understand that my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal and that some of my comments, given my position, made others feel in ways I never intended. I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation. To the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that,” the governor said.

The statement did little to appease detractors.

“That’s not an apology. He seemed to be saying, oh, I was just kidding around. You know, sexual harassment is not funny. It’s serious. It has to be taken seriously. And he just clearly was letting himself off the hook for something that for the women involved, sounded pretty terrifying,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, told reporters on Monday.

New York Attorney General Letitia James around the same time announced her office was launching an investigation into the accusations, after Cuomo’s office sent a referral to her.

“At the close of the review, the findings will be disclosed in a public report,” said James, a Democrat.

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