Embattled New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo deflected questions Wednesday regarding his reaction to President Biden’s assertion that he should resign from office if an investigation confirms allegations that he sexually harassed several women, including former aides.
Cuomo was asked to respond to a specific section of Biden’s interview with ABC that aired Tuesday evening. During the interview, Biden said Cuomo should resign if the claims were confirmed and added that he thought the governor would “probably end up being prosecuted, too.” A reporter read Biden’s quote to Cuomo word-for-word during a call-in press conference.
In response, Cuomo noted that Biden called for a full review into the allegations to determine whether they were true. The governor said he agreed with Biden’s position on the investigation and reiterated that he would not resign.
“If you committed a crime, you can be prosecuted. That’s true. But what President Biden said was, we should do an investigation,” Cuomo said. “The question to President Biden starts with, do you think the governor should resign or do you think there should be a review first and the president said there should be a review. I agree with him on that. The people of New York agree with him on that.”
New York State Attorney General Letitia James launched an investigation after seven women came forward with allegations of harassment or misconduct. In addition, the New York State Assembly launched a probe to assess whether to impeach Cuomo.
Cuomo declined to comment on specific allegations against during the press conference, citing the ongoing investigation. The governor has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and resisted calls for his resignation from several top New York Democrats, including Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.
A recent Siena University poll found that 50% of New Yorkers thought Cuomo should not immediately resign in response to the allegations, compared to 35% who thought he should step down.
Cuomo said the poll results indicated that state residents have not lost confidence in his ability to lead.
“On the Siena poll, I think that’s what I’m hearing from New Yorkers. I have a job to do,” Cuomo said. “They want me to do the job. They’re concerned about COVID, they’re concerned about vaccines, they’re concerned about reopening and they believe in due progress, that allegations are not guilt. So figure out the facts before you make a conclusion. That’s also common sense.”
Biden’s comments on the allegations against Cuomo during the ABC interview marked the first time he has personally addressed the situation.
Biden said members of New York’s congressional delegation should be the ones to determine if Cuomo can effectively lead the state during the investigation. He noted that the allegations against Cuomo could “very well” result in a “criminal prosecution” if they are confirmed.
“A woman should be presumed to be telling the truth and should not be scapegoated and victimized for coming forward, number one. But there should be an investigation to determine whether what she says is true. That’s what’s going on now,” Biden said.