“New York is still in the midst of this pandemic and is still facing the societal, health and economic impacts of it,” the state Senate majority leader said. “We need to govern without daily distraction. For the good of the state Governor Cuomo must resign.”
New York Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie (D), in a separate statement on Sunday, said he supports Cousins’ call and shares her concern over Cuomo’s ability to lead the state as the allegations swirl.
“We have many challenges to address, and I think it is time for the Governor to seriously consider whether he can effectively meet the needs of the people of New York,” Heastie said.
Cuomo, who has described his behavior as “playful” banter that was mistaken for “unwanted flirtation,” refused prior calls to resign.
At a press conference on Sunday before Stewart-Cousins’ statement, the governor said it would be “anti-democratic” for him to leave his job until the state attorney general fully investigates the complaints against him.
“I wasn’t elected by politicians. I’m not going to resign because of allegations. The premise of resigning because of allegations is actually anti-democratic. We’ve always done the exact opposite, you know, the system is based on due process,” he said.
As of Sunday, five women have accused the governor of inappropriate behavior.
Four were working as aides for him when they say he made unwanted advances. A fifth woman said he inappropriately touched her and asked to kiss her shortly after they met at a wedding in 2019.