President Joe Biden called on Andrew Cuomo to resign after the release of a state report finding that the New York governor sexually harassed multiple women, created a “climate of fear” in his office and violated federal and state laws.
Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the nation’s two most senior Democrats, on Tuesday both joined a chorus of politicians from both sides of the aisle demanding Cuomo step down. Cuomo, also a Democrat, responded defiantly earlier in the day, insisting he’d done nothing wrong and calling the probe by New York Attorney General Letitia James biased.
The president said he thought Cuomo should resign in response to a reporter’s question at a White House briefing. Pelosi said in a statement, “Recognising his love of New York and the respect for the office he holds, I call upon the Governor to resign.”
James, also a Democrat, said Cuomo engaged in “unwanted groping” and kissing of current and former state employees as well as women outside of state government. He and his staff also retaliated against at least one former employee for coming forward, the attorney general said at a press conference Tuesday morning announcing her office’s report on Cuomo’s misconduct.
Biden, who weathered his own controversy related to inappropriate behaviour, and Pelosi both stopped short earlier this year of seeking Cuomo’s resignation when harassment allegations first surfaced, but James’s report intensified the firestorm engulfing a politician who just last year was touted as a hero and a possible Democratic presidential contender.
Other political figures who previously reserved judgment on Cuomo, like New York Representative Hakeem Jeffries, the No. 3 House Democrat, also said Tuesday he should resign. New York Representative Elise Stefanik, the No. 3 House Republican, said Cuomo should be arrested. New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand renewed their previous demand from March that Cuomo resign.
Cuomo denied the findings of James’s report in his own press conference held Tuesday afternoon. “I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances,” he said.
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