Gov. Andrew Cuomo vowed Friday he would not resign despite a seventh woman accusing him of harassment and a growing list of elected officials calling for him to step down.
During a teleconference, Cuomo insisted allegations against him were untrue and urged New Yorkers to wait for the completion of investigations from the state attorney general and assembly before jumping to conclusions.
“I did not do what was alleged. Period,” Cuomo remarked. “I will not resign. I never harassed anyone. I never assaulted anyone. I never abused anyone, and I never would. What is alleged simply did not happen. I have not had a sexual relationship that is inappropriate. Period.”
Cuomo said politicians forming opinions without hearing the facts were “reckless and dangerous.”
“The people of this state have known me for 40 years. I have been in the public eye my entire life,” Cuomo said. “I have been under public scrutiny since I was 23 years old. Any opinion with facts is irresponsible. You don’t have facts now. You have allegations. I have confidence in the decision based on the facts.”
Before Cuomo’s briefing, state Sen. Peter Harckham (D-Lewisboro), a close ally of the governor, suggested Cuomo should allow Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul to take over the daily leadership of the state.
“Right now, the governance of New York State is suffering from compromised leadership that is under investigation. Instead of focusing on important business, like safeguarding residents from COVID-19 and restoring our economy, our executive is using precious time and state resources to refute serious allegations about misreporting nursing homes deaths during the coronavirus pandemic and sexual assault and harassment from numerous women. I strongly condemn sexual assault and harassment; and I stand with the women making these allegations,” Harckham stated.
On Thursday, state Sen. Shelley Mayer (D-Yonkers) called for Cuomo to resign from office after the sixth woman came forward on Tuesday and last week supported having the state attorney general’s investigation run its course in the growing scandal. Following the sixth accusation where a former aide detailed accounts of harassment, including groping by the governor, Mayer said it was “the last straw” of a “deeply disturbing pattern of women alleging sexual harassment” by Cuomo.
Mayer added that the collective weight of the allegations of withholding information on the nursing home and the latest controversy, skirting construction safety on the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge makes his departure imperative, she said. Mayer said she saluted the courage of the women who have come forward to speak out about sexual harassment in the workplace.
“I do not see how the State of New York can be led during this crisis by this Governor,” Mayer said. “We have a state budget due in 20 days, and critical decisions to be made regarding education, economic recovery and pandemic relief. The Governor’s actions have undermined his ability to lead, and he must resign.”
On Sunday Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) dropped a bombshell calling for the need for the governor to step down “a must.” Last week, Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti (D-Pleasantville), a frequent Cuomo critic, was the first local legislator to take that position.
At least 12 Democrats in New York’s congressional delegation also said Friday Cuomo had become engulfed in scandals and lost the ability to govern.