New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was hoping to survive the numerous accusations of sexual harassment levied against him. But New York Attorney General Letitia James’ report on those claims have not only damaged his reputation even more than one could imagine, top Democratic leadership at the state and federal levels are calling for him to step down.
President Joe Biden called for him to step down, which was his position back in March when he said the governor should resign if the AG’s report confirms the allegations. Cuomo’s bigger issue may be with the New York State Assembly leader, who has called for him to step aside.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie not only said Cuomo “can no longer remain in office,” but that the report was the nail in the coffin, according to the Democrat and Chronicle.
“After our conference this afternoon to discuss the Attorney General’s report concerning sexual harassment allegations against Governor Cuomo, it is abundantly clear to me that the Governor has lost the confidence of the Assembly Democratic majority and that he can no longer remain in office,” Heastie said in a statement.
Currently, legislators are conducting an investigation into whether they will issue articles of impeachment, but Politico is reporting that Democrats in Albany are pretty much set on impeaching the third-term governor.
“A lot of people are ready,” Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan) told Politico. “The process is going to wind down and then, I believe, you’ll see the Assembly voting on articles of impeachment.”
Back in the spring, The Root reported that Cuomo was unlikely to resign because he’s been down and out before and other elected officials have weathered scandals and held on to their roles. This is a different situation, though. The impeachment inquiries that began some months ago didn’t have the new allegations listed in the New York attorney general’s report. Her investigation found that Cuomo harassed 11 women, including a state trooper.
This dude allegedly harassed a cop. That is the most white man shit ever. Cuomo literally out-white-manned himself on this one.
Listed as “Trooper #1” of the PSU (Protective Services Unit), here is the account of what she accused Cuomo of during their interactions:
Trooper #1 joined the PSU, the Governor sexually harassed her on a number of occasions, including by: (1) running his hand across her stomach, from her belly button to her right hip, while she held a door open for him at an event; (2) running his finger down her back, from the top of her neck down her spine to the middle of her back, saying “hey, you,”7 while she was standing in front of him in an elevator;
(3) kissing her (and only her) on the cheek in front of another Trooper and asking to kiss her on another occasion, which she deflected; and (4) making sexually suggestive and gender-based comments, including (a) asking her to help him find a girlfriend and describing his criteria for a girlfriend as someone who “[c]an handle pain,”8
(b) asking her why she wanted to get married when marriage means “your sex drive goes down,”9 and (c) asking her why she did not wear a dress. Trooper #1 found these interactions with the Governor not only offensive and uncomfortable, but markedly different from the way the Governor interacted with members of the PSU who were men, and she conveyed these incidents contemporaneously to colleagues. Several other PSU Troopers corroborated Trooper #1’s allegations, including some who had personally witnessed some of the touching and comments as well as the gender-based difference in the way the Governor treated Troopers.
The writing is pretty much on the wall. Democrats have a huge majority in the state legislature, so any sign that they are taking it easy on Cuomo will be a reflection of their morality. They aren’t likely to fall on that sword, so it’s likely that Cuomo is already headed out of the door—whether he recognizes it or not.