Prominent Democrats have called for the resignation of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by seven women. In a joint statement, New York Senators Chuck Schumer (who is the Senate Majority Leader) and Kirsten Gillibrand, said ‘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.’
The statement comes in the wake of a multiple woman accusing Cuomo of sexual misconduct, the latest of whom came forward on Friday. Jessica Bakeman, a former Albany reporter, wrote in New York Magazine that the Governor had sexually harassed her, detailing unwanted touching and inappropriate comments she alleges Cuomo subjected her to. Cuomo has denied the allegation, calling it ‘not true’, and also remarking that ‘a lot of people allege a lot of things for a lot of reasons’. ‘I have not had a sexual relationship that was inappropriate, period,’ he said.
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Governor Cuomo, who just several months ago was extremely popular amongst Democrats and held a large amount of influence over the party, has faced several major scandals this year which have damaged- perhaps irreversibly- his reputation. He has been accused of altering the number of Covid-19 deaths in nursing homes, bullying, and, most infamously, sexual misconduct. The sexual misconduct allegations have sparked criticism from prominent politicians, many of whom would have described themselves as Cuomo allies before the allegations emerged.
One such politician is Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), often known as AOC, who has herself been a victim of sexual assault. Ocasio-Cortez and Congressman Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) released a joint statement, in which they said that Cuomo ‘can no longer effectively lead in the face of so many challenges.’ They also said that they ‘believe these women, we believe the reporting, we believe the Attorney General, and we believe the fifty-five members of the New York State legislature,’ referring to the 55 women in the New York legislature who have called for Cuomo’s resignation.
Another critic of Cuomo has been incumbent New York mayor Bill De Blasio, a long-time political rival of Cuomo. De Blasio recently said that the latest allegation of sexual misconduct is “disgusting to me, and he can no longer serve as governor. It’s as simple as that.” He also called the allegations against Cuomo ‘deeply troubling’. This is not the first time De Blasio has criticised Cuomo; he voiced his opposition to the Governor after both the Covid-19 nursing home statistics scandal and after the accusation of bullying levelled at Cuomo.
However, Cuomo is not going down without a fight. Responding to the allegations of sexual misconduct before the latest accusation on Friday, he said, “I did not do what has been alleged. I never harassed anyone, I never assaulted anyone, I never abused anyone.” He continued, “I’m not going to resign. I was not elected by the politicians, I was elected by the people.”
Cuomo also claimed that, “People know the difference between playing politics, bowing to cancel culture, and the truth.” However, Cuomo’s claim that he is a victim of ‘cancel culture’ has been widely dismissed, as many people see it as him trying to excuse his actions and hide from the consequences of the inappropriate behaviour he is alleged to have subjected several women to.