House Speaker Nancy Pelosi put aside her four-decade friendship with the Cuomo family and called on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to resign amid allegations of sexual harassment corroborated by an in-depth investigation from the New York state attorney general.
“Under Attorney General Letitia James, a comprehensive and independent investigation into the allegations against Governor Cuomo has been completed,” Pelosi said in a statement. “As always, I commend the women who came forward to speak their truth. Recognizing his love of New York and the respect for the office he holds, I call upon the Governor to resign.”
The Pelosi and Cuomo families have been close friends for over 40 years. Mario Cuomo, Andrew Cuomo’s father, endorsed Pelosi to be the chair of the Democratic National Committee in 1984, when Mario Cuomo was the governor of New York. Mario Cuomo and Pelosi traveled to Italy together after the 1980 earthquake that killed nearly 3,000 people. Pelosi also invited Matilda Cuomo, Andrew Cuomo’s mother, to Pope Francis’ address to Congress in 2015.
In March, Pelosi told ABC News the allegations against Cuomo were “credible and serious,” adding that there is “zero tolerance for sexual harassment.” When asked if the New York governor should resign, Pelosi was less forthcoming: “The governor should look inside his heart ... to see if he can govern effectively.”
Eleven women accused the New York governor of sexual harassment including sexual comments and unwanted touching. New York Attorney General Letitia James said that Cuomo and his senior team created a hostile work environment for women. The evidence painted a “deeply disturbing yet clear picture” that Cuomo sexually harassed female employees, many of whom were young women, James said.
Cuomo denied the allegations later on Tuesday, telling reporters he “never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances.”
President Joe Biden called on Cuomo to resign in the wake of the New York attorney general’s findings. Prominent New York Democrats including U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) released statements urging Cuomo to step down. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said it’s “beyond clear that Andrew Cuomo is not fit to hold office.”
Democratic members of the New York State Assembly held a meeting Tuesday afternoon to discuss the possibility of impeachment after Cuomo held a bizarre press briefing in which he did not announce his resignation and insisted that the investigation’s findings were biased.
“Now that the investigation is complete and the allegations have been substantiated, it should be clear to everyone that he can no longer serve as governor,” New York state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said in a statement.
New York state Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou, an outspoken critic of Cuomo’s, said she has already drafted articles of impeachment.
“I had them drafted yesterday,” Niou said. “I had them drafted months ago.”