July 25, 2021

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Nadler, Ocasio-Cortez and Others in Congress Call on Cuomo to Resign – The New York Times

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A raft of powerful Democratic members of New York’s congressional delegation, including Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jerrold Nadler, called on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to resign on Friday, saying Mr. Cuomo had lost the capacity to govern amid a series of multiplying scandals.

In a cascade of separate and joint statements, at least 12 House members said Mr. Cuomo should leave office following a string of sexual harassment allegations and controversy over his administration’s handling of nursing homes during the pandemic.

“Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of the people of New York,” said Mr. Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and one of the highest-ranking members of Congress. “Governor Cuomo must resign.”

The calls, which came in rapid succession in what appeared to be a coordinated message, were the sharpest rebuke yet of Mr. Cuomo from the upper echelons of the Democratic Party. Only one other House Democrat from New York, Kathleen Rice of Long Island, had previously called on Mr. Cuomo to resign.

Most top Democrats, including President Biden and Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, have not called on Mr. Cuomo to step down, instead reiterating their support of an independent investigation into the sexual harassment claims overseen by the state attorney general, Letitia James.

The defection of so many New York Democrats is a troubling sign for Mr. Cuomo, who effectively controls the state party and has been perhaps the state’s most famous politician, particularly since the beginning of the pandemic, when he was hailed as a hero in some quarters, and when his name was whispered as a possible presidential contender.

The seeming coordination of the calls to resign also marked the sudden deterioration of the governor’s standing, and prompted new questions about his ability to survive the dual scandals. Indeed, Mr. Nadler and many of the members who called on Mr. Cuomo to resign had previously said they supported the investigation. But they said Friday that their positions had shifted as more women accused Mr. Cuomo of inappropriate conduct.

“Recently, the deeply disturbing allegations of at least six women, including several former employees, offer detailed descriptions of sexual misconduct that raise additional concerns about the governor’s fitness to hold any position of public trust,” Representative Mondaire Jones, a recently elected progressive who represents the Hudson Valley, said in a statement. “For the good of our state and everyone who calls it home, I urge Governor Cuomo to resign.”

Also calling for Mr. Cuomo’s resignation were Representatives Jamaal Bowman, Yvette Clarke, Antonio Delgado, Adriano Espaillat, Brian Higgins, Carolyn Maloney, Sean Patrick Maloney, Grace Meng and Nydia M. Velázquez.

Including Ms. Rice, 13 of the state’s 19 House Democrats have called for Mr. Cuomo’s resignation. Most of New York’s eight Republican representatives had already said the governor should step down.

Ms. Maloney, a longtime member of Congress who chairs the powerful House Oversight Committee, said she admired the women who have spoken about claims of harassment by the governor, linking their disclosures to the Me Too movement.

“We have come a long way, but now is the time to finally ensure that this generation’s courage stops harassment once and for all,” Ms. Maloney wrote in a statement.

Mr. Nadler, noting that the accusations against Mr. Cuomo were serious and credible, said the governor deserved due process, but he said the matter at hand was “squarely a political judgment” at this point.

In a joint statement, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and Mr. Bowman, both members of the party’s ascendant left wing, also cited the latest accusation leveled against Mr. Cuomo, from an unidentified aide who said Mr. Cuomo had groped her at the Executive Mansion in Albany.

“Governor Cuomo can no longer effectively lead in the face of so many challenges,” they said.

The governor has strenuously denied that claim and others, while admitting that some of his remarks to staffers could have been misconstrued as “unwanted flirtation.”

“I now understand that my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal and that some of my comments, given my position, made others feel in ways I never intended,” Mr. Cuomo said, in a statement released on Feb. 28, a day after The New York Times reported on a series of sexually charged remarks the governor is said to have made to Charlotte Bennett, a 25-year-old former aide.

The calls for resignation came one day after the New York State Assembly took the first step to potentially impeach Mr. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat.

On Thursday evening, after nearly 60 Democratic state lawmakers signed on to a statement calling on Mr. Cuomo to step down, the Assembly said it would open an investigation into the governor’s actions, a broad mandate that could also include looking into Mr. Cuomo’s attempt to obscure the full extent of the death toll of nursing home residents.

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