On Sunday, two top New York State Democrats called for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s resignation.
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins released a statement that read, "Every day there is another account that is drawing away from the business of government. We have allegations about sexual harassment, a toxic work environment, the loss of credibility surrounding the COVID-19 nursing home data and questions about the construction of a major infrastructure project.
“New York is still in the midst of this pandemic and is still facing the societal, health and economic impacts of it. We need to govern without daily distraction. For the good of the state Gov. Cuomo must resign."
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie issued a statement that read, “The allegations pertaining to the governor that have been reported in recent weeks have been deeply disturbing, and have no place whatsoever in government, the workplace or anywhere else. I too share the sentiment of Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins regarding the governor's ability to continue to lead this state. We have many challenges to address, and I think it is time for the governor to seriously consider whether he can effectively meet the needs of the people of New York.”
Speaking on a conference call, Cuomo said, “There are some legislators who suggest that I resign because of accusations that are made against me. I was elected by the people of the state, I wasn't elected by politicians. I'm not going to resign because of allegations. The premise of resigning because of allegations is actually anti-democratic and we've always done the exact opposite. You know the system is based on due process, and the credibility of the allegation. Anybody has the ability to make an allegation in democracy and that's great, but it's then the credibility of the allegation, and we've gone through this with the legislature. I remember when we set up JCOPE. We set up this whole elaborate process that the accusation was private. The person who was accused got a private letter, but the accusation was private. Why? Because it's damaging to publicize allegations before you know that they are credible. JCOPE has hundreds of allegations, but until they are reviewed, they're private.
“The inspector general's office is private, hundreds of accusations, but until you go through the due process. So, we have the attorney general who's doing an independent review. She has all the allegations, anybody can make an allegation to her, and let the attorney general do her job. She's very good, she's very competent, and that will be due process and then we'll have the facts. That's why Sen. Schumer said let the attorney general do her investigation; Sen. Gillibrand said let the attorney general do her investigation; Congressman Jeffries said let the attorney general do her investigation; the White House spokesperson said let the attorney general do the investigation, because that's democracy. So no, there is no way I resign. Let's do the attorney general investigation, let's get the findings, and then we'll go from there. But I'm not going to be distracted by this either. We have to get a budget done in three weeks; we have a lot of work to, a lot of work to do for this state.
“This is not about me and accusations about me; the attorney general can handle that. This is about doing the people's business, and this next six months I believe will determine the future trajectory for New York state. What we do in this budget, how successful we are in rebuilding, how positive we portray this state going forward, how resilient we appear. We have to say to those New Yorkers who are looking at us and saying do they have a future or do they not have a future. ‘Should I move to a warmer climate? Is New York ever going to come back?’ We have six months of an open window where we have to say, ‘You're damn right we're coming back, and we're coming back stronger than ever before,’ and not just say it, we're going to show it and you're going to see new public works, and you're going to see a real shot in the arm for this state. You're going to see us do vaccines where we're going to have the massive vaccination effort where people will see this is going to be a thing of the past. We're going to beat COVID. No government is better at doing its job than this government, and we've shown that all through COVID, and we're not going to be distracted from that.”