As three women have come forward to accuse Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual misconduct, a cadre of local politicos are calling on the state’s chief executive to resign — or face impeachment.
“The accounts of sexual harassment from the women who have courageously come forward confirm what many in Albany have known for years: that Governor Cuomo uses his power to belittle, bully and harass his employees and colleagues,” read a joint statement from Brooklyn state senators Jabari Brisport and Julia Salazar, along with assemblymembers Emily Gallagher, Phara Souffrant Forrest, Marcela Mitaynes, and Zohran Mamdani.
Most recently, the New York Times reported a woman’s account that Cuomo approached her at a party, grabbed her bare lower back, and asked to kiss her. That comes after two other women reported unwanted and invasive remarks by the governor.
Cuomo put out a statement after the allegations surfaced, acknowledging that he may “have been insensitive or too personal” with colleagues, but that he “never inappropriately touched anybody and I never propositioned anybody and I never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable.”
“At work sometimes I think I am being playful and make jokes that I think are funny. I do, on occasion, tease people in what I think is a good natured way,” the statement read. “I have teased people about their personal lives, their relationships, about getting married or not getting married. I mean no offense and only attempt to add some levity and banter to what is a very serious business.”
The cadre of pols, however, also pointed to the recent controversy over the Cuomo administration’s handling over COVID-19 deaths in the state’s nursing homes, and the subsequent lack of transparency over the data, saying the combined scandals warranted Cuomo’s ejection from office.
“These accounts of predatory behavior come just weeks after Gov. Cuomo’s administration admitted to withholding critical information, including the thousands of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes, from the public and from the federal government,” the statement continued. “That act alone on the part of the Governor was sufficient to justify impeachment proceedings.”
The calls to get Cuomo out of the governor’s chair comes as Attorney General Letitia James announced that her office would be investigating the claims of sexual harassment, and just over a month after her bombshell report into the undercounting of nursing home deaths.
“Impeachment proceedings are the appropriate avenue for us to pursue as legislators to hold the governor accountable for his many abuses of power and remove him from office,” the progressive legislators said in their statement. “Gov. Cuomo has repeatedly abused his powers and yet has faced no accountability. We must utilize every mechanism to lead a process commensurate with the severity of the governor’s multiple abuses of power.”
If Cuomo were to vacate the office, either through resignation or conviction at an impeachment trial, Lieutenant Gov. Kathy Hochul would carry out the governor’s duties for the remainder of his tenure.
On Monday, the Working Families Party — which has had its own rocky relationship with Cuomo in recent years — joined in on the calls for the third-term governor’s ouster,
“The public has now seen Gov. Cuomo’s true leadership style. The governor led a cover-up of COVID nursing home deaths to preserve his image,” the party said in a statement. “His administration bullies, threatens, and smears anyone who disagrees with him, silencing opposing views. And now we’ve learned of his pattern of sexual harassment and predatory behavior towards women.”
The whirlwind fall from national grace for Cuomo comes after a year when he gained widespread adoration for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While adequate opinion polling is not yet available in the wake of the sexual harassment allegations, the governor’s favorability had already slipped significantly after New Yorkers learned of the controversy surrounding nursing home deaths — with respondents who said they “approve of Cuomo’s job performance” down 6 points in the aftermath of James’ report.
This story first appeared on AMNY.com.