Cuomo remains silent amid calls to quit over sexual harassment allegations | Andrew Cuomo
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo avoided public appearances for days as some members of his own party called on him to step down over allegations of sexual harassment.
The governor has not responded to reporters’ questions since a February 19 briefing, an unusually long gap for a Democrat whose daily and televised updates on the coronavirus pandemic were staple on television last spring.
He was last in front of video cameras Thursday, when he introduced Joe Biden at a virtual meeting of the National Governors Association, which he chairs. He also took part in the group’s conference call on Tuesday, which was closed to journalists.
Neither Cuomo nor his spokespersons commented on the latest allegation against him on Monday night. A woman told the New York Times that Cuomo touched her lower back, then grabbed her cheeks and asked her to kiss her at a wedding in September 2019.
Most leading Democrats have indicated that they want to await the results of an investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James into allegations that Cuomo sexually harassed at least two women in his administration.
State Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs, a close ally of Cuomo, said it was “premature” to give his opinion before the investigation was completed.
This investigation has not yet started. James said his office was working on hiring an outside law firm to lead him.
US Congressman Hakeem Jeffries said the New York congressional delegation to Washington had not met on the issue but that “everyone was following the situation closely.”
“Well, these are very serious allegations and they need a very serious investigation,” Jeffries told reporters on Tuesday. “I have no doubts that Attorney General Tish James will get to the bottom of it all, release a fully transparent report, and then we can decide how best to proceed next.”
At noon Tuesday, at least one Democratic Congresswoman from Long Island – Kathleen Rice – four state senators, several left-wing assembly members and leaders of the Progressive Working Families Party said they had heard enough. and that Cuomo should resign. Some have suggested that he be removed from office.
The governor is also criticized for refusing, for months, a full account of the number of nursing home residents who have died from Covid-19.
Leaders of the Democratic-controlled State Assembly and Senate on Tuesday announced that the legislature would pass legislation to limit emergency powers related to the pandemic they granted Cuomo in the spring latest.
Cuomo’s existing Covid-19 mandates would remain in place, but he would not be able to extend or change them without answering questions from lawmakers, under a bill introduced by the Senate Majority Leader , Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.
Both senior legislators have said they support the attorney general’s investigation into Cuomo’s workplace conduct.
Former aide Charlotte Bennett, 25, said Cuomo asked her about her sex life and asked if she would be open to a relationship with an older man. Bennett dismissed Cuomo’s attempted apology, in which he said he tried to be “playful” and his jokes were misinterpreted as flirtation.
Another former assistant, Lindsey Boylan, said Cuomo commented inappropriately on her appearance, kissed her without her consent at the end of a meeting and once suggested playing strip poker aboard her owned jet. in the state. Cuomo has denied Boylan’s claims.
The woman who spoke to the New York Times about Cuomo’s conduct at the wedding, Anna Ruch, did not respond to the Associated Press’s request for comment.
Ruch told the newspaper that when she removed Cuomo’s hand from her back, he called it “aggressive,” placed his hands on her cheeks and asked if he could kiss her. Cuomo then planted a kiss on her cheek as she turned away.
A photograph taken by a friend captured an expression of discomfort on Ruch’s face as the governor held his face.
“I felt so uncomfortable and embarrassed when in reality it was he who should have been embarrassed,” Ruch told the newspaper.
Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York City, who has had a contentious relationship with Cuomo for years, said Tuesday that while all of the allegations against Cuomo are true, “he cannot rule.”
“He couldn’t rule, it’s that simple,” De Blasio said.
Asked by a reporter about whether Cuomo should take over the organization of in-person events, De Blasio said, “I think all leaders need to answer tough questions from the media, whether it’s practical or not.”