In recent weeks, multiple women, including several of the governor’s former staffers, have come forward with stories alleging that Cuomo made them uncomfortable through unwanted sexual comments and inappropriate touching. A growing list of New York officials, Republicans and Democrats alike, have called on Cuomo to resign following the allegations, with some saying the sexual harassment claims and a scandal about his administration undercounting coronavirus deaths in nursing homes prove the governor is no longer fit for office.
On Sunday, Cuomo was defiant, saying there’s no chance he would resign.
“I’m not going to resign because of allegations,” he told reporters. “The premise of resigning because of allegations is actually anti-democratic.”
Last week, Cuomo apologized for behaving “in a way that made people feel uncomfortable,” but he denied touching his accusers inappropriately and refused to step down.
The governor’s latest refusal to step down came less than 24 hours after two more women — former aides to Cuomo — came forward with their own allegations, as first reported in The Wall Street Journal. On Saturday, former Cuomo policy aide Anna Liss, who worked for Cuomo from 2013 to 2015, alleged the governor asked her if she had a boyfriend, touched her back and kissed her hand during an encounter. Another former Cuomo aide, Karen Hinton, alleged he pulled her in for a “very long, too tight, too intimate” hug in 2000, when Cuomo headed up the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Cuomo told reporters that Hinton, who was previously press secretary for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, is a “political adversary,” and he suggested the push for him to resign is politically motivated.
“I have a newsflash for you: There is politics in politics. I have political differences with people,” he said.
Shortly after Cuomo spoke to the press on Sunday, the top Democrat in the New York Senate, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, said he should resign.
“New York is still in the midst of this pandemic and is still facing the societal, health and economic impacts of it,” Stewart-Cousins said. “We need to govern without daily distraction. For the good of the state Governor Cuomo must resign.”
“There is no way I resign,” Cuomo emphasized on the call with reporters Sunday. “Let the attorney general do her investigation.”
Last week, after facing public pressure for trying to assign a close ally to work with New York Attorney General Letitia James to investigate the claims of sexual harassment, Cuomo ultimately agreed that James should lead the effort independently.
James also led the investigation released in January that found the Cuomo administration undercounted coronavirus deaths in nursing homes by at least 50%.