New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday refused to resign amid mounting pressure from fellow Democrats for him to step down over sexual misconduct accusations leveled against him — with Cuomo lashing out at “reckless and dangerous” politicians he accused of not knowing all the facts.
“Women have a right to come forward and be heard and I encourage that fully. But I also want to be clear, there is still a question of the truth, I did not do what has been alleged. Period,” he said in a press conference.
“I won’t speculate about people’s possible motives but I can tell you as a former attorney general who has gone through this situation many times, there are often many motivations for making an allegation and that is why you need to know the facts before you make decision,” he said.
He then addressed the slew of House Democrats from the New York delegation and at the state level who have called for him to resign.
“Politicians who don’t know a single fact but then form a conclusion and an opinion are in my opinion reckless and dangerous,” he said. “The people of New York should not have confidence in a politician who takes a position without knowing any facts or substance — that, my friends, is politics at its worst.”
He later said: “A lot of people allege a lot of things for a lot of reasons.”
Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jamaal Bowman, Jerry Nadler, Nydia Velazquez, Grace Meng, Sean Patrick Maloney and Carolyn Maloney on Friday added their voices to those calling for Cuomo to step down.
“This week, the second sexual assault allegation and the sixth harassment allegation was leveled against Governor Cuomo,” Ocasio-Cortez and Bowman said in a statement. “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. These allegations have all been consistent and highly-detailed, and there are also credible media reports substantiating their accounts.”
Nadler, meanwhile, called the accusations “credible” and “serious.” He said that while Cuomo is guaranteed due process, “the question before us is squarely a political judgment.”
“Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of the people of New York. Governor Cuomo must resign,” he said.
The lawmakers spoke after the Albany Times Union reported that a woman said Cuomo aggressively groped her at the executive mansion after summoning her there to help him with a cellphone issue. Cuomo is alleged to have reached under her blouse, according to the paper.
The sixth woman to come forward with allegations against Cuomo is the latest in a cavalcade of accusations facing the governor, as well as a nursing home scandal that some lawmakers have cited when calling for Cuomo’s resignation.
That scandal erupted in January when Attorney General Letitia James’ office announced that the administration had undercounted deaths in nursing homes by up to 50% — raising questions about a possible cover-up.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday urged Cuomo to “do something that’s decent after these many, many indecent revelations and simply resign.”
Those calls came after array of state Democrats had called for him to resign and a possible impeachment investigation has been initiated. Dozens of Democratic members of the state Assembly and Senate issued a joint statement on Thursday calling for Cuomo to resign due to the two scandals.
The lawmakers, 59 in total, said that they must “decide what is best for the future of New York state,” as the twin controversies have hurt Cuomo’s standing and have left him “ineffective” as the state deals with health and economic crises.
Allegations of misconduct started in late February, when former aide Lindsey Boylan accused Cuomo of sexual harassment. Since then, allegations have mounted up.
Last month, Cuomo apologized for interactions that he said “may have been insensitive or too personal and that some of my comments, given my position, made others feel in ways I never intended.” However, he denied inappropriately touching anyone. State Attorney General James has launched an investigation into the allegations.
On Friday, Cuomo made it clear he would not resign: “I am not going to resign, I was not elected by the politicians, I was elected by the people.”
He urged people to wait for the independent reviews to be conducted.
“There are now two reviews underway, no one wants them to have been more quickly and more thoroughly than I do — let them do it,” he said.
He also said elected officials often take positions for all sorts of reasons, including “political expediency” and bowing to pressure.
“People know the difference between bowing to cancel culture and the truth — let the review proceed,” he said.
Fox News’ Audrey Conklin, Ronn Blitzer and Sam Dorman contributed to this report.