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Schumer and Gillibrand join Democrats urging Cuomo to resign

Cuomo refuses to resign amid calls from NY Democrats
Cuomo refuses to resign despite calls from top New York Democrats 03:56

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo just lost the support of two of the country's most powerful Democrats — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. The senators are joining a growing chorus of lawmakers calling for Cuomo's resignation amid allegations of sexual harassment. 

"Confronting and overcoming the Covid crisis requires sure and steady leadership. We commend the brave actions of the individuals who have come forward with serious allegations of abuse and misconduct," Schumer and Gillibrand said in a joint statement.

"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." 

Cuomo became an international celebrity for his handling of the coronavirus crisis but after accusations of mismanagement and a series of sexual harassment allegations, he finds himself isolated and rapidly losing support.

Earlier Friday, the three-term governor remained defiant, denying the allegations against him and refusing to step down. "I did not do what has been alleged. Period," Cuomo said in a call with reporters. "I never harassed anyone, I never assaulted anyone, I never abused anyone."

"I'm not going to resign. I was not elected by the politicians, I was elected by the people," Cuomo added. "People know the difference between playing politics, bowing to cancel culture, and the truth." 

The pushback comes as the majority of House Democrats from New York are calling for Cuomo's resignation, including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler.

"The repeated accusations against the governor, and the manner in which he has responded to them, have made it impossible for him to continue to govern at this point," Nadler said in a statement. "Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of the people of New York. Governor Cuomo must resign."

In a joint statement, Ocasio-Cortez and Congressman Jamaal Bowman cited the growing number of allegations against Cuomo, as well as the administration's misleading reports of nursing home residents' COVID-19 deaths, as reasons that the governor should resign.

"As members of the New York delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives, we 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, including the State Senate Majority Leader, who have concluded that Governor Cuomo can no longer effectively lead in the face of so many challenges," Ocasio-Cortez and Bowman said.

Representatives Nydia Velázquez, Adriano Espaillat, Grace Meng, Mondaire Jones, Carolyn Maloney, Yvette Clarke, Antonio Delgado, Sean Patrick Maloney, Brian Higgins, Ritchie Torres, Joe Morelle and Paul Tonko also called for his resignation. 

Congresswoman Kathleen Rice was the first member of the New York delegation to call on Cuomo to resign on March 1.

New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie on Thursday authorized an impeachment investigation into the allegations of misconduct he's facing, and more than 55 state lawmakers said in a letter Thursday that they want the governor out.

"The budget, the fight against COVID-19, and restarting the economy all depend on clear and trustworthy leadership," the letter said. "In light of the governor's admission of inappropriate behavior and the findings of altered data on nursing home COVID-19 deaths he has lost the confidence of the public and the state legislature, rendering him ineffective in this time of most urgent need."

A Quinnipiac poll released earlier this month found that a majority of New Yorkers do not want Cuomo to resign, although they are also unsatisfied with his response to the sexual misconduct allegations. According to the poll, conducted on March 2-3, 55% of New York voters believe that he should not step down, although 59% also say that he should not run for a fourth term.

The poll also found that 59% of New York voters are unsatisfied with Cuomo's explanation and apology regarding the allegations, and 86% support the independent investigation by the state attorney general. 

Kathryn Watson contributed to this report.

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