Biden calls on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign
Aug 04, 2021 - 02:26 AM
WASHINGTON (AA) – US President Joe Biden called on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign Tuesday after a damning report said the former close Democratic ally sexually harassed 11 women.
“I think he should resign. I understand that the state legislature may decide to impeach. I don’t know that for a fact,” Biden said of the governor in response to a question from a reporter at the White House.
An independent investigation said in a bombshell report released earlier Tuesday that Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women from 2013 through 2020.
The finding comes five months after New York Attorney General Letitia James tasked an independent commission led by two outside attorneys with investigating widespread claims from former and current New York state employees. The allegations included unwanted kissing, hugging and groping as well as inappropriate comments.
The probe determined Cuomo and senior officials retaliated against at least one former employee for coming forward with her claims, according to a statement from James’ office.
Cuomo’s administration fostered a “toxic” and “hostile” work environment that was “rife with fear and intimidation and accompanied by a consistent overlooking of inappropriate flirtations and other sexually suggestive and gender-based comments by the Governor,” the report says.
Those conditions “allowed the sexual harassment to occur and persist” and further “influenced the improper and inadequate ways in which the Executive Chamber has responded to allegations of harassment,” investigators Joon Kim and Anne Clark wrote in their 168-page report, using the state’s name to refer to the governor’s administration.
Biden said he did not read the entirety of the exhaustive report but said “all I know is the end result.”
The president is the latest high-profile Democrat to call for Cuomo’s resignation. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did so earlier in the day, as did fellow New Yorkers Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
“No elected official is above the law. The people of New York deserve better leadership in the governor’s office. We continue to believe that the Governor should resign,” Schumer and Gillibrand said in a joint statement.
Cuomo, who has maintained his innocence, has sharply refuted the report’s findings, contending “the facts are much different than what has been portrayed.”
“I want you to know directly from me that I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances,” he said in a video message. “I am 63 years old. I have lived my entire adult life in public view. That is just not who I am, and that’s not who I have ever been.”
The report will likely play into an ongoing investigation within the state legislature to determine whether there are grounds for the governor to be impeached.