President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are not calling for New York Gov. Andrew Como to resign even as a growing number of New York and national Democrats say it’s time for the scandal-ridden governor to step down.
The president and vice president are not even going as far as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y. In recent days the two high-ranking House members didn’t explicitly say Cuomo should resign but did imply that he should seriously consider it.
This comes as Cuomo’s support evaporates among other Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the highest-ranking New Yorker in Congress, and among traditional allies in the New York state legislature.
Cuomo is accused, among other things, of sexually harassing multiple women and of covering up deaths of nursing home residents from the coronavirus. Many have attributed a significant chunk of New York’s coronavirus deaths to the state’s policy from early in the pandemic of discharging contagious patients into the group homes filled with highly vulnerable people.
But among Democratic politicians, it appears the sexual harassment allegations are the primary driver of calls for Cuomo to resign.
“Confronting and overcoming the Covid crisis requires sure and steady leadership. We commend the brave actions of the individuals who have come forward with serious allegations of abuse and misconduct,” Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said in a statement on Friday. They added: “Due to the multiple, credible sexual harassment and misconduct allegations, it is clear that Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of his governing partners and the people of New York. Governor Cuomo should resign.”
Still, as the number of public accusers against Cuomo continues to grow, the president and the vice president have not abandoned the governor. The White House did not respond to a query sent Sunday asking whether Biden and Harris believe Cuomo should resign. Biden himself was asked about Cuomo Sunday and repeated the White House’s earlier stance that people should wait for the result of New York Attorney General Letitia James’ investigation, despite the fact several new accusers have come out in recent days.
“I think the investigation is underway and we should see what it brings us,” Biden said Sunday.
The embattled governor also has been called on to resign by at least 26 federal lawmakers and 135 New York state lawmakers. More than 85% of New York’s congressional delegation has called on Cuomo to resign. This includes establishment mainstay Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and progressive firebrand Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., among many others.
“This week, the second sexual assault allegation and the sixth harassment allegation was leveled against Governor Cuomo,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a joint statement with Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., another progressive representative from New York City. Some of the accusers against Cuomo have not gone so far as to call Cuomo’s behavior sexual harassment, but have emphasized that it was inappropriate and made them uncomfortable.
“The fact that this latest report was so recent is alarming, and it raises concerns about the present safety and well-being of the administration’s staff,” the pair continued. “[We] believe these women, we believe the reporting, we believe the Attorney General, and we believe the fifty-five members of the New York States legislature, including the State Senate Majority Leader, who have concluded that Governor Cuomo can no longer effectively lead in the face of so many challenges.”
Pelosi is among other high-profile national Democrats to still not explicitly call on Cuomo to resign. But they each issued stern statements that called into question whether Cuomo can continue to do his job.
“I think we should see the results of the investigation … but he may decide,” Pelosi responded. “And hopefully this result will be soon. What I’m saying is the governor should look inside his heart – he loves New York – to see if he can govern effectively. And that could be one of the considerations that he has.”
Cuomo has so far refused to resign. He’s simultaneously apologized for making some women uncomfortable while denying that he ever inappropriately touched a woman.