Two New York State Democratic lawmakers said on Sunday that allegations of sexual harassment against Governor Andrew Cuomo by five women were undermining his leadership skills and said he should resign.
Calling for the governor’s departure, State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins also cited accusations that Cuomo’s way of managing created a toxic work environment and that his office under- estimated coronavirus death rate in nursing homes.
“Every day there is something new that distracts the attention of the government,” Stewart-Cousins said in a statement. “We must rule without daily distractions. For the good of the state, Governor Cuomo must resign. “
State House Mayor Carl Heastie also released a statement in which he said he shared Stweart-Cousins’ perspective on the governor’s ability to continue running this state. “” We have a lot of challenges ahead, and I think it’s about time for him. the governor to give serious thought to his ability to effectively meet the needs of New Yorkers.
Earlier Sunday, the most powerful New Yorker in the National Congress, Democratic Majority Leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, called the accusations against Cuomo “deeply disturbing” and defended the investigation initiated by the Secretary of State. New York State Attorney, Letitia James.
Schumer said she believes in James’ job and will ensure there is no outside interference, political or otherwise. “Sexual harassment is never acceptable and can never be tolerated,” he said. “Women need to be heard, […] the demands of each of the women must be taken seriously. “
Against the governor, unwanted charges invested and inappropriate comments weigh heavily. According to the New York Times, one of her former employees accuses her of asking about her sex life and whether she has ever had sex with older men.
Another former aide says Cuomo “made an effort to touch my ass, arms and legs” and gave an unexpected kiss after a meeting, according to the US newspaper.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday (6) that a former employee said Cuomo sometimes greeted her with a hug and kisses on both cheeks, called her “honey,” kissed her hand and asked her if she had. a boyfriend.
Also on Saturday, the Washington Post reported that another former aide reported that the governor hugged her in a hotel room after a work event.
For his part, the Democrat reaffirmed on Sunday his promise to stay in power and lead the state during the Covid-19 crisis and towards economic recovery. “I will not resign because of the allegations,” the governor said, according to US media. “It is reprehensible to disclose the allegations before knowing whether […] Let the justice secretary do her job. “
Cuomo denies the charges and has promised to cooperate with the investigation. He even did a mea-culpa, stating that it was his custom to kiss and hug people when he greeted them, apologizing for any behavior that made “people uncomfortable.” .
The deepening scandal marks one of the lowest points in Cuomo’s tenure and throws his political future into uncertainty as the governor faces renewed scrutiny over his government’s decision to withhold data on the deaths in nursing homes during the pandemic.