UPDATE 3:00 PM EDT VIA AP: Facing unprecedented political isolation, a defiant New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo insisted on Friday that he would not step down in the wake of mounting allegations of sexual harassment and condemned the sprawling coalition of Democrats calling for his resignation as “reckless and dangerous.”
The third-term Democratic governor, a leading critic of former President Donald Trump’s pandemic response, evoked the Republican president in defending himself against “cancel culture.”
“I’m not going to resign,” Cuomo said during an afternoon phone call with reporters. “I did not do what has been alleged. Period.”
He added: “People know the difference between playing politics, bowing to cancel culture and the truth.”
The embattled governor’s comments come on a day that his party in New York and beyond turned sharply against him in the wake of the harassment allegations as well as sweeping criticism of Cuomo for keeping secret how many nursing home residents died of COVID-19 for months.
Cuomo’s growing list of detractors now covers virtually every region in the state and the political power centers of New York City and Washington. A majority of Democrats in the state legislature and 19 of the state’s 27 U.S. House members have called on him to step down.
The escalating political crisis jeopardizes Cuomo’s 2022 reelection in an overwhelmingly Democratic state, and threatens to cast a cloud over President Joe Biden’s early days in office.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: (Casey Harper, Headline USA) Major New York political figures have now joined the growing list of Democrats calling for the resignation of Gov. Andrew Cuomo in light of several credible allegations of sexual assault and sexual harassment.
New York Congressional Democrats Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jerry Nadler officially called for Cuomo’s resignation Friday after the Times Union of Albany reported allegations from a sixth woman this week.
“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,” Nadler said in a press release.
A majority of state lawmakers are calling on him to resign, and more than half of New York’s Democratic congressional members have joined those calls.
On Friday — besides Nadler and Ocasio-Cortez — Jamaal Bowman, Mondaire Jones, Nydia Velazquez, Adriano Espaillat, Carolyn Maloney, Grace Meng, Antonio Delgado, Brian Higgins, Yvette Clarke all pushed for Cuomo’s resignation, joining Kathleen Rice, who called for Cuomo’s resignation previously.
Other Republicans in New York’s Congressional delegation previously called for Cuomo’s resignation, including Nicole Malliotakis, Elise Stefanik, Claudia Tenney and Lee Zeldin.
The accusations against Cuomo include groping, inappropriate comments, and unwanted kissing.
Cuomo has defended himself, saying he “never touched anyone inappropriately” and “never made any inappropriate advances,” but did apologize for any way he made anyone feel uncomfortable.
New York Attorney General Letitia James is investigating the allegations.
Ocasio-Cortez released a joint statement with Rep. Bowman, calling on Cuomo to resign.
“We believe these women, we believe the reporting, we believe the Attorney General, and we believe the 55 members of the New York State legislature, including the State Senate Majority Leader, who have concluded that Governor Cuomo can no longer effectively lead in the face of so many challenges,” the statement reads.
On Twitter, Ocasio-Cortez also cited “the Attorney General’s investigation finding the Governor’s admin hid nursing home data from the legislature & public.”
Cuomo has taken heavy criticism for his nursing home policies during the Covid-19 pandemic, which many allege led to a spike in deaths among the elderly.
Noticeably absent from the calls for resignation, though, has been Vice President Kamala Harris, whose outrage and aggressive questioning during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings helped escalate her political career.
She also regularly attacked President Donald Trump on women’s issues on the campaign trail. In Cuomo’s case she has kept mum, at least for now.
Even the left-leaning media, though, is signaling that Cuomo’s situation is becoming more dire.
“If the Assembly were ultimately to vote to impeach Governor Cuomo, the next step is he would then be tried in the state Senate,” she said. “Well, as of tonight, roughly two-thirds of the senators in the New York state Senate have already called on Governor Cuomo to step down, including the Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.”
Nadler’s finished his latest press release echoing that same sentiment:
“Governor Cuomo must resign.”
Associated Press contributed to this report.