Embattled New York Governor Andrew Cuomo dug in further on Sunday, refusing again to resign despite criticism from influential fellow Democrats over a sexual harassment scandal.
“I’m not going to resign because of allegations,” the governor said, speaking after Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the leader of the New York state senate, said he should step down “for the good of the state.”
“There is no way I resign,” Cuomo said.
Stewart-Cousins said in a statement that the harassment allegations against Cuomo by former aides came at a critical time, as the state battles Covid-19 and amid allegations that Cuomo’s administration mishandled its initial pandemic response.
“We need to govern without daily distraction,” Stewart-Cousins said. “Governor Cuomo must resign.”
Carl Heastie, the Democratic leader of the lower chamber, the state assembly, issued a statement shortly afterward saying, “I think it is time for the governor to seriously consider whether he can effectively meet the needs of the people of New York,” the New York Times reported.
Cuomo, initially praised for his state’s handling of the pandemic, has suffered a spectacular fall from grace, with Republicans and his accusers also calling for his resignation.
One former aide, Lindsey Boylan, has alleged that the governor gave her an unsolicited kiss on the lips and suggested that they play strip poker, allegations he has denied.
“I never touched anyone inappropriately,” Cuomo said Wednesday, while adding that he now understood that he had made his accusers feel “uncomfortable.”
“It was unintentional. And I truly, and deeply apologize,” he said.
State Attorney General Letitia James is leading an inquiry into the allegations.