Despite claiming that she has ‘zero tolerance’ for sexual harassment, and calling allegations of sexual misconduct against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ‘credible and serious’, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) won’t call for Cuomo to resign. Instead, she told ABC’s This Week that ‘The governor should look inside his heart – he loves New York – to see if he can govern effectively.’
She also said: “What I said at the time that these revelations came forward, I said what these women have said must be treated with respect. They are credible and serious charges, and then I called for an investigation. I have confidence in the Attorney General of New York. Again, with all respect in the world for what these women have come forward and said.”
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Many prominent Democrats have already called for Governor Cuomo to resign, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer who, with fellow New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, released a statement which said that ‘it is clear that Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of his governing partners and the people of New York. Governor Cuomo should resign.’
Other key figures in the Democratic party who have urged Cuomo to resign are Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), commonly known as AOC, and New York Mayor Bill De Blasio. Ocasio-Cortez released a joint statement with fellow Congressman Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) in which they said:
“We believe these women, we believe the reporting, we believe the Attorney General, and we believe the 55 members of the New York State 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.” The ’55 members of the New York State Legislature’ that the statement refers to are a group of state legislators who have called on Cuomo to resign.
Cuomo has now been accused of sexual harassment and/or assault by seven different women, all of whom have given detailed accounts of the horrific way they allege they were treated by Cuomo. The claims range from one former aide, Charlotte Bennet, alleging she was asked by Cuomo if, as a victim of rape, she had trouble being with someone and if she was sensitive to intimacy, and also whether she’d date anyone over the age of 22, to a ‘much younger’ female aide alleging that Cuomo put his hand up her blouse. Other women have alleged that they have been subjected to similar behaviour, such as inappropriate requests (including one request from Cuomo to a female aide to play strip poker), and unwanted kissing.
However, despite the numerous allegations of sexual misconduct and the growing pressure on him to resign, Governor Cuomo both maintains his innocence and insists that he will not stand down. Cuomo has tried to explain away the allegations using multiple excuses, on one instance saying that ‘a lot of people allege a lot of things for a lot of reasons’, and on another claiming that he is a victim of ‘cancel culture’. However, many see his ad hoc explanations for the accusations against him as him trying to escape the consequences of his actions.