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Politics

'Cuomo Must Resign,' NY State Senate's Top Democrat Says

State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins
State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins Photo Credit: Wikipedia/Malcolm Smith

Andrew Cuomo's hopes of serving out his third term as New York governor have taken a dramatic turn for the worse in the last 24 hours.

First, two more women, both former aides, came forward with new allegations of sexual misconduct against Cuomo, bringing the number of women who have accused Cuomo of sexual harassment to five.

Now, State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) has said she's seen enough and has called on Cuomo to resign.

"Every day there is another account that is drawing away from the business of government," Stewart-Cousins said in a statement released just after 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 7. "We have allegations about sexual harassment, a toxic work environment, the loss of credibility surrounding the COVID-19 nursing home data, and questions about the construction of a major infrastructure project.

"New York is still in the midst of this pandemic and is still facing the societal, health, and economic impacts of it. We need to govern without daily distraction. For the good of the state, Governor Cuomo must resign."

In a statement of his own, State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) said, "I think it is time for the governor to seriously consider whether he can effectively meet the needs of the people of New York."

Earlier Sunday afternoon, in a conference call with reporters, Cuomo said "There is no way I resign," and repeated his earlier statement that New Yorkers should wait for the state's attorney general, Letitia James to complete an investigation with subpoena power of the sexual harassment claims as well as the probe of the Cuomo administration's alleged coverup of COVID-19 nursing home deaths.

"There are some legislators who suggest that I resign because of accusations that are made against me," Cuomo said Sunday. "I was elected by the people of the state, I wasn't elected by politicians. I'm not going to resign because of allegations. 

"The premise of resigning because of allegations is actually anti-democratic and we've always done the exact opposite. 

"You know the system is based on due process and the credibility of the allegation. Anybody has the ability to make an allegation in a democracy and that's great, but it's then the credibility of the allegation, and we've gone through this with the legislature." 

In an editorial published on Saturday, March 6, the Albany Times-Union called on Cuomo to resign, writing, "Enough. Mr. Cuomo has squandered the public’s trust at a time when it’s needed more than ever." The Times-Union noted it had endorsed Cuomo in his three gubernatorial runs.

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