New York governor Andrew Cuomo defiant as top lawmakers call on him to quit over sexual harassment charges
On Saturday, two women who worked for Cuomo publicly accused him of inappropriate behavior, following other accusations in recent weeks.
File image of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. AP
New York: The top two Democrats in the New York legislature withdrew their support for Governor Andrew Cuomo on Sunday amid mounting allegations of sexual harassment and understatement. COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes.
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins became the first senior Democrat in the state to say the three-term governor should resign. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie stopped short of demanding that Cuomo resign, but said in a statement that “it is time for the governor to seriously consider whether he can effectively meet the needs of the people of New York.” On Saturday, two more women who worked for Cuomo publicly accused him of inappropriate behavior, following other accusations in recent weeks.
“Every day there is another account moving away from government business,” Stewart-Cousins said in a statement. “New York is still in the middle of this pandemic and still faces the social, health and economic impacts of it. We need to rule without daily distractions. For the good of the state, Governor Cuomo must resign. ” His public pressure for his resignation came shortly after a Sunday press conference in which Cuomo said it would be “undemocratic” for him to resign.
“There is no way I’m quitting,” Cuomo told reporters.
“They do not annul the will of the people, they cannot annul the elections,” he said. “I was chosen by the people of the state of New York. I was not elected by politicians. ”
In a brief phone conversation Sunday before the press conference, Cuomo told Stewart-Cousins that he would not resign and that they would have to charge him if they wanted him out of the office, according to a person who was informed by someone on the call. .
The person spoke with The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the call was intended to be private.
Cuomo said the next six months will determine how successful New York emerges from the coronavirus pandemic. “I’m not going to get distracted because there is a lot to do for the people,” he said, noting that the state must approve a budget in three weeks and administer 15 million more. COVID-19 vaccines.
Support for Cuomo has eroded at surprising speed as he faces two scandals, one over his treatment of women in the workplace and a second over his administration’s refusal for months to release comprehensive statistics on COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes.
Some lawmakers have been enraged by revelations that the Cuomo administration delayed releasing some data on patient deaths in nursing homes in hospitals, at least in part due to concerns that the administration of President Donald Trump might use it. against him.
Several women have publicly said that they felt sexually harassed, or at least made them feel degraded and uncomfortable. The state attorney general is investigating. Cuomo has urged people to wait for the investigation to conclude before trying him.
Others who have called for Cuomo’s resignation include Rep. Kathleen Rice, a Long Island Democrat.
Former adviser Lindsey Boylan, 36, said Cuomo made inappropriate comments about her appearance, joked about playing nude poker and once kissed her on the lips at the end of a meeting. Former assistant Charlotte Bennett, 25, said Cuomo asked her if she ever had sex with older men and made other comments that she interpreted as a measure of her interest in an affair.
Another former assistant, Ana Liss, said The Wall Street Journal In a story published Saturday that when she worked as a policy assistant to the governor between 2013 and 2015, Cuomo called her “beloved,” kissed her hand and asked her personal questions, even if she had a boyfriend.
When asked about Liss’s story at his press conference Sunday, Cuomo said that talk was “my way of making friendly jokes.”
Echoing comments he made at a press conference last week, Cuomo acknowledged that he had made jokes and asked personal questions in an attempt to be collegiate and frequently greeted people with hugs and kisses.
“I never wanted to make anyone feel uncomfortable,” Cuomo said he has denied touching anyone inappropriately.
While Cuomo has apologized in recent days for his behavior, at least tacitly acknowledging that some of the things women have said are true, he has also pointed to some accusations as outright false.
On Sunday he refuted a story told about him by Karen Hinton, a former Cuomo press aide when she served as federal housing secretary under President Bill Clinton.
In a story published Saturday in The Washington Post, Hinton detailed an awkward hotel room interaction he had with Cuomo when the two met in California years ago while trying to patch things up after an estrangement.
Hinton said that when he got up to leave, Cuomo gave him a hug that was “very long, very long, very strong, very intimate.”
She described the encounter not as sexual harassment but as a “power play” for “manipulation and control.” She was no longer an assistant to Cuomo at the time.
When asked about Hinton’s account on Sunday, Cuomo said it was “not true” and noted that the two had long been political adversaries.
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She is a freelance blogger, writer, and speaker, and writes for various entertainment magazines.