All but one Democratic member of the Brooklyn congressional delegation joined calls for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s resignation Friday, as sexual harassment allegations continue to stack up against the scandal-scarred governor.
Congressmembers Carolyn Maloney, Jerrold Nadler, Nydia Velazquez, and Yvette Clarke all released statements on March 12 backing calls for the governor’s resignation, making Rep. Hakeem Jeffries — the second-most powerful Democrat in the House — the borough’s lone holdout.
“I support those who spoke out about their stories and admire their courage,” said Maloney, who represents Greenpoint and Williamsburg. “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.”
Nadler, who represents Brooklyn’s western coastline and parts of southern Brooklyn, stressed that the investigations into the governor’s alleged pattern of sexual misconduct and covering up of nursing home deaths during the pandemic must be carried out, but that, until then, the governor has lost the ability to govern effectively.
“There is a difference between formal investigations that may end in criminal charges and a question of confidence in our political leadership. The question before us is squarely a political judgment,” Nadler said. “Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of the people of New York. Governor Cuomo must resign.”
Velazquez, who represents parts of north and northwestern Brooklyn, argued that resigning was the only way the embattled governor could restore confidence in the state government.
“As public servants, we must earn the trust and respect of those we represent,” said Velazquez. “There is only one way the governor can truly restore accountability and confidence to his office: he must resign.”
Clarke, who represents central Brooklyn, reversed her previous stance of calling to allow for Attorney General Letitia James to complete her investigation, saying she now feels the governor should step down immediately.
“I remain confident that Attorney General Tish James has the resources, prowess, and ability to conduct a comprehensive and determinative report,” Clarke said. “However I must join my colleagues in calling for Governor Andrew Cuomo to step down.”
Jeffries, who serves as the Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and who represents a chunk of central and southwestern Brooklyn including Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Canarsie, stopped short of calling for the governor to step down.
“Under these extraordinary circumstances, the governor must seriously consider whether he can continue effectively lead the state,” Jeffries said. “No one is above the law.”
Nicole Malliotakis, Brooklyn’s solo Republican congressional representative serving southern Brooklyn, had previously called for the governor to resign over the nursing home scandal and has circulated a petition calling for his resignation.
The congressional representatives, some of whom have worked closely with Cuomo for decades, are among the most powerful figures in New York politics who have called for the governor to step down, along with State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and the majority of the New York congressional delegation.
The dual scandals engulfing the governor come as the state’s budget deadline nears and the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine demands competent leadership. The most recent allegation against Cuomo is perhaps the most damning, in which a current aide accused the governor of aggressively groping her at the executive mansion late last year, as reported by the Times Union.
It is the seventh claim so far made against the governor, who has denied touching anyone inappropriately, but apologized for making those around him uncomfortable through comments. He has remained steadfast in his refusal to step down.