New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a Democrat, is calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign as the third-term governor faces dual scandals over both his alleged inappropriate behavior with women, as well as the coverup of his mishandling of nursing homes during the coronavirus pandemic.
“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 Governor Cuomo must resign,” Stewart-Cousins said in a statement on Sunday, shortly after Cuomo said on a press call with reporters that there is “no way” he resigns.
“We have more allegations about sexual harassment, a toxic work environment, the loss of credibility surrounding the Covid nursing home data and questions surrounding the construction of a major infrastructure project,” she added.
New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, who is also a Democrat, said in a tweet Sunday that he shares Stewart-Cousins’ concerns regarding Cuomo’s ability to effectively lead the state.
“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,” Heastie said.
“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,” he added.
However, Cuomo on Sunday rejected the idea of tendering his resignation, calling demands by politicians that he step down “anti-Democratic” and defiantly telling members of the press that “there is no way I resign.”
“There are some legislators who suggest that I resign because of accusations that made — are made against me. I was elected by the people of the state. I wasn’t elected by politicians. I’m not going to resign because of allegations,” Cuomo said.
He argued that no judgment should be made until State Attorney General Letitia James finishes her investigation into the allegations.
Two additional women accused Cuomo of sexual harassment on Saturday, bringing the total number of accusers to five.
Former press aide Karen Hinton told the Washington Post that Cuomo, then head of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, forced her into a “very long, too long, too tight, too intimate” embrace in a dimly lit Los Angeles hotel room in December 2000.
Meanwhile, Ana Liss, a policy and operations aide who worked for Cuomo from 2013 to 2015, told the Wall Street Journal the governor acted inappropriately with her as well, calling her “sweetheart” and asking if she had a boyfriend.
She detailed a May 2014 encounter with the governor in Albany’s executive mansion where she said the governor called her sweetheart, hugged her, kissed both of her cheeks, put his arm around her lower back and grabbed her waist as they turned to have their photo taken by a photographer.
Cuomo has denied both allegations.
The new allegations come days after reports broke that Cuomo’s top aides rewrote a July report by state health officials to conceal the number of nursing home residents who died from coronavirus in the state.
The aides worked to hide the fact that more than 9,000 nursing home residents had died from the virus in the state at the time, according to reports from the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.