New York governor Andrew Cuomo denied claims he sexually harassed ladies and mentioned he wouldn’t resign, hours after the vast majority of the state’s Democratic Congressional delegation known as on him to give up.
“I didn’t do what has been alleged. Interval,” Cuomo mentioned, referring to half-a-dozen complaints of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour lodged in current weeks by former feminine aides.
Throughout a defiant name with reporters, the embattled governor questioned the motives of fellow Democrats who’ve joined requires him to step down earlier than the completion of formal investigations, saying their behaviour was “reckless and harmful”.
He at one level blamed “cancel tradition” for his predicament and mentioned he was not a part of the “political membership”, regardless of being the son of a three-term New York governor and having spent a lot of his life in outstanding political positions.
The governor’s resistance raises the stakes in an escalating and more and more ill-tempered stand-off between his administration and a rising camp of legislators in Albany and Washington.
Hours earlier, a dozen New York members of the Home of Representatives — together with Jerrold Nadler, the chairman of the judiciary committee, and progressive stars Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman — issued statements calling for Cuomo to step down.
“The repeated accusations towards the governor, and the style during which he has responded to them, have made it not possible for him to proceed to manipulate at this level,” Nadler mentioned, concluding: “Governor Cuomo has misplaced the boldness of the individuals of New York. Governor Cuomo should resign.”
In the meantime, Ocasio-Cortez and Bowman mentioned it was “alarming” that the newest incident of alleged sexual assault towards the governor came about simply months in the past, and expressed concern for the protection of his employees.
The regular strain towards Cuomo entered a brand new part on Thursday night when the Speaker of the state meeting, Carl Heastie, mentioned he would authorise the judicial committee to start an investigation of the governor — a transfer that would result in impeachment proceedings.
Cuomo, a three-term Democratic governor, turned a nationwide political star for his commanding efficiency within the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.
However his standing has been diminished for his dealing with of the state’s nursing properties in the course of the pandemic. The New York attorney-general present in January that his administration had undercounted Covid-19 fatalities for nursing dwelling residents by as a lot as 50 per cent.
This got here after a controversial order by the governor in April final yr requiring nursing properties to just accept Covid-19 sufferers discharged from hospitals. The coverage was meant to liberate area in hospitals amid worries they might quickly be overwhelmed by the pandemic, however has since been blamed by critics for spreading deadly infections amongst susceptible nursing dwelling residents.
The strain on him has additional elevated on account of a drum beat of accusations in current weeks of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour towards feminine staffers. Cuomo has apologised for “no matter ache I prompted” however insisted he by no means touched anybody appropriately.
Cuomo has repeatedly urged the general public to withhold judgment till an investigation of his conduct overseen by the New York attorney-general is accomplished. There isn’t a timetable for that evaluation.
Within the meantime, extra politicians have come ahead every day calling for his elimination. Invoice de Blasio, the New York Metropolis mayor, and longtime Cuomo rival, joined their ranks on Thursday, calling Cuomo’s behaviour “disgusting.”
He was prompted by a report this week within the Albany Instances Union alleging that Cuomo summoned a younger staffer to his mansion late final yr and groped her. The matter has been referred to the Albany police.
“I need to make it clear that what’s being alleged simply didn’t occur. The final allegation isn’t true,” Cuomo mentioned on Friday. “And I’ve not had a sexual relationship that was inappropriate. Interval.”
The battle to take away Cuomo, who has dominated the state’s politics for a decade, is raging as New York enters a essential juncture in its Covid-19 vaccination marketing campaign.
The state can also be in the course of fraught funds negotiations, with many progressive Democrats decided to push by way of greater taxes on the rich in addition to different priorities that the centrist governor has thwarted up to now.
In his assertion, Nadler, one of many leaders of the impeachment trial of the previous president former president Donald Trump, acknowledged that the investigations of the governor weren’t full, however argued that it was time to behave.
“There’s a distinction between formal investigations which will finish in felony prices and a query of confidence in our political management,” he mentioned. “The query earlier than us is squarely a political judgment.”