Schumer, Gillibrand Get Behind Drive to Push Out Cuomo

Senators Chuck Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand.
Senators Kristen Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer. Photo: Andrew Harrier/Bloomberg via Getty Images

On Friday evening, New York’s senators, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand released a joint statement calling for Governor Andrew Cuomo’s resignation. Their announcement followed an avalanche of calls from Democrats in New York for Cuomo to step down over allegations that he sexually harassed multiple women and mismanaged the COVID crisis in nursing homes.

“It is clear that Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of his governing partners and the people of New York,” the statement from Schumer and Gillibrand said. “Governor Cuomo should resign.” Previously, the senators had only echoed calls for an independent investigation into the claims against Cuomo.

On Friday morning, 13 U.S. representatives from the state — Jerry Nadler, Carolyn Maloney, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jamaal Bowman, Sean Patrick Maloney, Antonio Delgado, Grace Meng, Mondaire Jones, Yvette Clarke, Adriano Espaillat, Nydia Velázquez, Brian Higgins and Paul Tonko — all released similar statements calling for the governor to step down within minutes of each other, indicating an organized and united effort. Later Friday, Representatives Joe Morelle and Ritchie Torres also said Cuomo should resign.

Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, commended the “bravery” of Cuomo’s accusers, saying, “The repeated accusations against the Governor, and the manner in which he has responded to them, have made it impossible for him to continue to govern at this point.”

He added, “Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of the people of New York. Governor Cuomo must resign.”

Maloney, who currently chairs the House Oversight and Reform Committee, said that because of the Me Too and Time’s Up movements, “women are emboldened to step forward.”

She continued, “I join with Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, my colleagues, and others who have called on Governor Cuomo to resign in the best interest of all New Yorkers.”

Ocasio-Cortez and Bowman issued a joint statement that acknowledged the accusations of sexual harassment against the governor, as well as the COVID-19 nursing home scandal, which marked the beginning of Cuomo’s recent troubles

“Unfortunately, the Governor is not only facing the accusation that he engaged in a pattern of sexual harassment and assault,” they wrote. “There is also the extensive report from the Attorney General that found the Cuomo administration hid data on COVID-19 nursing home deaths from both the public and the state legislature.”

Prior to Friday, Representative Kathleen Rice was the sole congressional Democrat to call for Cuomo to step down, tweeting on March 1, “The time has come. The Governor must resign.”

All told, that makes 18 out of 21 Democratic members of New York’s congressional delegation who have now said that Cuomo needs to step down.

Representative Hakeem Jeffries, a major Cuomo ally, released a statement on Friday night in which he seemed to inch closer to a call for the governor’s resignation. Jeffries said he still supported both of the investigations into the claims against Cuomo, but added that, “Under these extraordinary circumstances, the Governor must seriously consider whether he can continue to effectively lead the state. No one is above the law.” Representatives Gregory Meeks and Tom Suozzi also released statements suggesting Cuomo consider whether he can govern effectively anymore, but stopping short of calling for him to resign.

In Albany, a majority of lawmakers have called on Cuomo to go and the legislature has taken the first step towards a possible impeachment of the third-term Democrat, announcing Thursday it will open an inquiry into the manifold claims against him. Cuomo, defiant as ever, said Friday he would not resign—going so far as to blame “cancel culture” and saying he is not part of the “political club,” notwithstanding his 30 years in politics and being the son of a former governor.

This post has been updated throughout.

Schumer, Gillibrand Join Calls for Cuomo’s Resignation