NEW YORK (AP) — The two top Democrats in New York’s legislature withdrew their support for Governor Andrew Cuomo on Sunday amid mounting allegations of sexual harassment and undercounting COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes.
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins became the first senior Democrat in the state to say the three-term governor should resign. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie stopped short of demanding that Cuomo quit, but said in a statement that “it is time for the governor to seriously consider whether he can effectively meet the needs of the people of New York”.
On Saturday, two more women who worked for Cuomo publicly accused him of inappropriate behaviour, on the heels of other allegations in recent weeks.
“Every day there is another account that is drawing away from the business of government,” Stewart-Cousins said in a statement. “New York is still in the midst of this pandemic and is still facing the societal, health and economic impacts of it. We need to govern without daily distraction. For the good of the state Governor Cuomo must resign.”
Her public push for his resignation came shortly after a Sunday press conference where Cuomo said it would be “anti-democratic” for him to step down.
“There is no way I resign,” Cuomo told reporters.
“They don’t override the people’s will, they don’t get to override elections,” he said. “I was elected by the people of New York State. I wasn’t elected by politicians.”
In a brief phone conversation on Sunday prior to the press conference, Cuomo told Stewart-Cousins he wouldn’t quit and they would have to impeach him if they wanted him out of office, according to a person who was briefed by someone on the call.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the call was intended to be private.