A defiant Gov. Andrew Cuomo continued to insist on Friday he would not resign, denied the allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior leveled against him and knocked the elected officials who have called on him to step down, saying in a conference call they are “bowing” to a “cancel culture” without knowing the facts.
“Women have a right to come forward and be heard and I encourage that fully,” Cuomo said. “But I also want to be clear there’s a question of the truth.”
Cuomo over the last month has faced an escalating series of allegations of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior by six women. Cuomo has also been accused of bullying tactics by state lawmakers and those who have worked for him over the years.
Meanwhile, a bruising new article in New York Magazine details multiple allegations of a “toxic workplace” in the governor’s administration.
The allegations have led to calls Cuomo resign or face impeachment in the state Legislature. Cuomo insisted, once again, he would not do so.
“Politicians take positions for all sorts of reasons, including political expediency and pressure,” Cuomo said. “People know the difference between playing politics, bowing to cancel culture, and the truth.”
Cuomo has maintained he has never touched anyone inappropriately.
“My statement could not be clearer, I think: I never harassed anyone, I never assaulted anyone, I never abused anyone,” Cuomo said when asked if he had a consensual relationship with any of the women.
James this week appointed former U.S. Attorney Joon Kim and Anne Clark, an employment discrimination attorney, to conduct an investigation into the allegations.
Virtually all of New York’s Democratic delegation in the House of Representatives have called for Cuomo to resign. Dozens of the governor’s fellow Democrats in th state Assembly and state Senate have also called for him to either resign or at least temporarily step aside amid an investigation by Attorney General Letitia James.
The Democratic-controlled state Assembly on Thursday announced an impeachment investigation of Cuomo has been authorized.
Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike in recent days have pointed to the harassment allegations, as well as the controversy over the under counting of nursing home resident fatalities during the pandemic, and new questions that have arisen over the construction of the Mario Cuomo Bridge project as reasons for Cuomo to either step down temporarily or permanently.
Still, not all prominent Democrats have joined the push for Cuomo to leave, including President Joe Biden.
“The president believes every woman who’s come forward, there have now been 6 I believe who have come forward, deserves to have her voice heard, should be treated with respect and should be able to tell her story,” said White House Press Secretary Jenn Psaki.
“There also is an independent investigation that is ongoing of course in the state with subpoena power overseen by the attorney general. He certainly supports that moving forward. We of course have watched the news of a number of lawmakers call for that but I don’t have any additional announcements from here.”
Cuomo waved away the concerns the problems facing him and his administration have been all consuming, suggesting the investigations, the pandemic management and the budget can all be handled at the same time.
“This is not the first time we’ve had to walk and chew gum here,” he said.