Last week, New York State Senate majority leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said that if one more woman accused Governor Cuomo of misconduct, she would call for him to resign, as other state lawmakers already had following allegations that Cuomo had sexually harassed at least three women (and reports that his administration had tried to hide the number of nursing-home residents who died from COVID-19 in the first several months of the pandemic).
“Any further people coming forward, I would think it would be time for him to resign,” she said Thursday. “Quite honestly, I am so, so disappointed that here we are in 2021 and we are having these conversations on the heels of Me Too.”
On Saturday, new allegations surfaced from multiple former aides, including several women, of inappropriate conduct by Cuomo. Former staff members also said that Cuomo’s behavior and abusive management style created a toxic workplace. On Sunday, Stewart-Cousins followed through on her pledge and said Cuomo “must” resign:
Soon after, State Assembly speaker Carl Heastie released his own statement in which he almost did the same, explaining that, “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.”
The dominos kept falling throughout the day on Sunday. Comptroller Scott Stringer, a prominent Democratic mayoral candidate, also called for Cuomo to step aside, as did Democratic State Senator Liz Krueger.
Earlier on Sunday, Cuomo had largely brushed off the latest allegations against him on a call with reporters, attacked one of his new accusers, and dismissed calls for him to resign from other lawmakers as politics as usual. He seemed to have abandoned the contrition he displayed during a press conference on Wednesday when he apologized for any unintentional harm he had caused any women he had interacted with, while denying the claims that he had sexually harassed any of them, and insisting he had no intention of resigning. He called for judgment against him to be withheld until an independent investigation into the allegations ordered by New York attorney general Letitia James could be completed.
“There is no way I resign,” Cuomo said more defiantly on Sunday. “Let the attorney general do her investigation.” He added that calls for his resignation were politically motivated, remarking, “I have a news flash for you: There is politics in politics. I have political differences with people.”
“I’m not going to resign because of allegations,” he continued. “The premise of resigning because of allegations is actually anti-democratic.”