Governor Andrew Cuomo holds a press conference announcing the fight against the Covid-19 Delta variant at 633 3rd Avenue.
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders called on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign Tuesday after a bombshell report was released alleging the governor sexually molested 11 women.
Pelosi expressed her conviction that Cuomo should step down, a shift from the spring when she refused to ask the governor to step down.
"In recognition of his love for New York and respect for the office he holds, I urge the governor to resign," Pelosi said in a statement.
President Joe Biden also called on Cuomo to resign. "He should resign," Biden told reporters at the White House.
When asked if Cuomo should be ousted if he refuses to step down, Biden said, "I understand the state legislature may decide to impeach, I don't know."
Shortly after Biden's response, New York State House spokesman Carl Heastie (D) announced the initiation of an impeachment investigation.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Kristen Gillibrand, both Democrats from New York, issued a joint statement calling the allegations against Cuomo "deeply worrying" and calling for his resignation.
"Today's New York attorney general's report corroborated and corroborated the allegations of the brave women who stood up to share their stories – and we commend the women for doing so," the senators said.
“No elected official is above the law. The people of New York deserve better leadership in the office of governor. We continue to believe that the governor should step down, ”said Schumer and Gillibrand. The senators originally called for Cuomo's resignation in March.
Gillibrand called the report "very serious and devastating" on Tuesday.
"My heart goes out to the women who came forward … and I thank them for their courage," she told reporters at the Capitol.
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf issued a joint statement calling on Cuomo to resign: “We are appalled at the results of the independent investigation by the New York Prosecutor General. Governor Cuomo should step down from his office. "
Three New York Democratic Congressmen, MPs Tom Suozzi, Gregory Meeks and Hakeem Jeffries, none of whom had previously urged Cuomo to step down, did so on Tuesday.
"It is time for Governor Andrew Cuomo to do the right thing for the people of New York State and step down," read a statement from the legislature.
Jeffries is the chairman of the Democratic Caucus in the House of Representatives, the fifth highest Democrat in the House of Representatives.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the White House message to Cuomo's accuser is that all women who have had "this type of experience … deserve to be treated with respect and dignity."
"I don't know that anyone could have watched (James' press conference) this morning and not found the allegations hideous – I know I definitely did," said Psaki.
Heastie, the US House of Representatives spokesman, said the report made it impossible for Cuomo to continue running the state.
"It is very clear to me that the governor has lost the trust of the democratic majority of the assembly and can no longer stay in office," Heastie said in a statement.
"We'll move quickly and try to complete our impeachment proceedings as soon as possible."
The U.S. Senate majority Chuck Schumer (D-NY) looks on after speaking at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
The report is the result of months of investigation by independent investigators working for Attorney General Letitia James' office. It concluded that Cuomo "sexually molested several women in violation of federal and state laws," James told a press conference.
A gloomy but defiant Cuomo strongly denied some of these allegations later Tuesday, saying that other examples of his alleged wrongdoing had been misrepresented or misinterpreted.
News of the report's results landed like a grenade in Albany and Washington, where the powerful Democratic governor has earned a reputation as a bare political thug.
The 165-page report also states that Cuomo's office was riddled with fear and intimidation and was a hostile work environment for many employees. The women Cuomo harassed included members of his own staff, members of the public, and other government employees, one of whom was a state trooper.
"The governor must resign for the good of the state," said Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Democratic majority leader in the New York State Senate. "Now that the investigation is closed and the allegations are substantiated, it should be clear to everyone that they can no longer serve as governor."
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the "heinous conduct" described in the report disqualified Cuomo from remaining in office and renewed his call to resign or impeach the governor.
"My first thoughts are with the women who have been exposed to this hideous behavior and their courage to share their stories," de Blasio said in a statement. “The Attorney General's detailed and thorough report reveals many worrying cases of serious misconduct. Andrew Cuomo has committed sexual assault, sexual harassment and intimidated a whistleblower. This is disqualifying. "
One of the women Cuomo allegedly molested was a New York state trooper.
Thomas H. Mungeer, president of the New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association, said he was “outraged and disgusted that one of my members charged with guarding the governor and ensuring his safety did not enjoy the same feeling of security as her Working environment that was made available to him. "
"The NYSTPBA also commends the courage of our member who, when asked to do so during this investigation, was sincere and had the courage to share their experiences," said Mungeer.