Will Andrew Cuomo resign? Guv rejects NY senate majority chief Andrea Stewart-Cousins' call to quit: 'No way'
It seems New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s problems are far from over, even in his own party. With allegations of sexual harassment surfacing just after the nursing home deaths scandal, more voices within the Democratic Party are calling for Cuomo to step down. However, the NY governor has remained defiant despite the criticisms.
On Sunday, March 7, Andrea Stwart-Cousins, the majority leader in the New York State Senate, said in a statement that Cuomo should resign “for the good of the state”. The 70-year-old leader, who has publicly sparred with Cuomo in the past, added: “Every day there is another account that is drawing away from the business of government.”
Andrew Cuomo's fall from grace: From being admired for Covid-19 effort to being mired in sexual harassment claims
“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, giving a hint at the numerous controversies that have come up in Albany in the recent months. “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 Gov. Cuomo must resign.”
Top NY Dems back call for Cuomo's resignation
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie also had a similar take. In his statement, he said: "The allegations pertaining to the Governor that have been reported in recent weeks have been deeply disturbing, and have no place whatsoever in government, the workplace or anywhere else. I too share the sentiment of Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins regarding the Governor's ability to continue to lead this state. We have many challenges to address, and I think it is time for the Governor to seriously consider whether he can effectively meet the needs of the people of New York." State Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris also agreed with the viewpoint that Cuomo should resign and said on Twitter: “We have many challenges to address, and I think it is time for the Governor to seriously consider whether he can effectively meet the needs of the people of New York.”
Cuomo, who had a call with reporters on Sunday over NY's battle with the Covid-19 pandemic, vowed not to quit and said the fresh allegations of sexual harassment against him were “not true” and called Karen Hinton, the latest of the five women to have accused the governor of sexual harassment, a “long-time political adversary”.
“There is no way I resign. Let the attorney general do the investigation and go from there,” Cuomo, 63, said, adding that he will not be “distracted” by the allegations. The veteran political leader completed a decade as the NY governor in January and faces re-election in November 2022. His favorability though has taken a dip among the New Yorkers, a recent survey has shown.
'I wasn't elected by politicians'
A defiant Cuomo said: “I was elected by the people of the state. I wasn't elected by politicians. I'm not going to resign because of allegations. The premise of resigning because of allegations is actually anti-democratic and we've always done the exact opposite. You know the system is based on due process and the credibility of the allegation. This is not about me and accusations about me. The attorney general can handle that. This is about doing the people's business, and this next six months I believe will determine the future trajectory for New York state.”
Hinton, a former top aide to Cuomo when he worked as the HUD secretary, hit back at the governor saying, “Trump may be gone but Cuomo has stepped right into his shoes by blaming the abused for his own abusive behavior”. Along with Hinton, Ana Liss brought separate allegations of sexual harassment against Cuomo on Saturday, taking the total number of accusers to five.
According to Hinton who spoke with The Washington Post, Cuomo called her to his ‘dimly lit’ hotel room after a work event way back in 2000 and embraced her. She said she tried to pull away from Cuomo but he allegedly pulled her back and held her before she managed to escape. She also said that she could physically feel that Cuomo was sexually aroused while he hugged her. Liss, also a former aide to Cuomo who worked with him between 2013 and 2015, told The Wall Street Journal that the latter had subjected her to unsolicited advances, including touching her lower back, kissing her hand and wanting to know about her love life. Before Liss and Hinton, two more former aides, Lindsey Boylan and Charlotte Bennett, besides Anna Ruch -- who did not work with Cuomo -- have also accused Cuomo of inappropriate behavior.
Cuomo’s South Dakota counterpart Kristi Noem, a Republican, publicly slammed Cuomo on Sunday, saying the people of America “deserve better” than him.