Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand called on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign Friday, joining the chorus of Democratic politicians urging him to step down. They are the highest-ranking government officials from New York to call for his resignation.
“Confronting and overcoming the Covid crisis requires sure and steady leadership,” Gillibrand and Schumer said in a joint statement. “We commend the brave actions of the individuals who have come forward with serious allegations of abuse and misconduct.”
“Due to the multiple, credible sexual harassment and misconduct allegations, it is clear that Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of his governing partners and the people of New York. Governor Cuomo should resign.”
Earlier in the day, high-profile members of Congress, including Representatives Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney, urged Cuomo to step down. The governor is also facing intense criticism for his state under-reporting nursing home deaths.
“The repeated accusations against the governor, and the manner in which he has responded to them, have made it impossible for him to continue to govern at this point,” Nadler said in a statement. “Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of the people of New York. Governor Cuomo must resign.”
In a joint statement, Ocasio-Cortez and Congressman Jamaal Bowman cited the growing number of allegations against Cuomo, as well as the administration’sof nursing home residents’ COVID-19 deaths, as reasons that the governor should resign. State Attorney General Letitia James released a report accusing the administration of underreporting nursing home deaths by more than 50% last month.
“As members of the New York delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives, we believe these women, we believe the reporting, we believe the Attorney General, and we believe the fifty-five members of the New York State legislature, including the State Senate Majority Leader, who have concluded that Governor Cuomo can no longer effectively lead in the face of so many challenges,” Ocasio-Cortez and Bowman said.
By Friday morning, Nadler, Ocasio-Cortez and Bowman had been joined by Representatives Nydia Velázquez, Adriano Espaillat, Grace Meng, Mondaire Jones, Carolyn Maloney, Yvette Clarke, Antonio Delgado, Sean Patrick Maloney, Brian Higgins and Paul Tonko in calling on Cuomo to resign. Congresswoman Kathleen Rice was the first member of the New York delegation to call on Cuomo to resign on March 1.
Gillibrand, who was the first senator to call for Senator Al Franken to resign amid multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, said in an interview with Yahoo Finance on Tuesday that talk of Cuomo’s resignation “isn’t the right conversation we should be having.”
“Asking every female elected in our state when a person should resign or not resign really isn’t the conversation we should be having. And I have to say, it’s exceedingly frustrating because so many men who are also in public leadership aren’t asked these questions day to day,” she said. “The women in our state are not meant to be judges, jurors and executioners.”
Gillibrand has also known Cuomo for years — she was the Housing and Urban Development special counsel when Cuomo was HUD secretary during President Clinton’s administration.
In a call with reporters on Friday, Cuomo denied all of the allegations against him, and said that he would not resign.
“I did not do what has been alleged. Period,” Cuomo said. He also implicitly criticized lawmakers who had called on him to resign, saying that they were making determinations without having the facts.
“I’m not going to resign. I was not elected by the politicians, I was elected by the people,” Cuomo said. “People know the difference between playing politics, bowing to cancel culture, and the truth.”
Cuomo had previously said last week that he would not resign, but his office pledged to cooperate with the New York attorney general’s investigation into the sexual misconduct claims against him.
Meanwhile, New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie on Thursdayinto the allegations of misconduct he’s facing.
The governor is also quickly losing support among state lawmakers. More than 55 state lawmakers said in a letter Thursday that they want the governor out.
“The budget, the fight against COVID-19, and restarting the economy all depend on clear and trustworthy leadership,” the letter said. “In light of the governor’s admission of inappropriate behavior and the findings of altered data on nursing home COVID-19 deaths he has lost the confidence of the public and the state legislature, rendering him ineffective in this time of most urgent need.”
— Kathryn Watson contributed to this report
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