Seven NYC Congress members call for Cuomo to resign over sex harassment scandal

House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing titled “Protecting the Timely Delivery of Mail, Medicine, and Mail-in Ballots,
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Congressman Jamaal Bowman and Congressman Jerrold Nadler called on March 12, 2021 for Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign over the sex harassment and nursing home COVID-19 death data scandals surrounding the governor.

The calls for Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign grew louder Friday morning with the addition of five prominent voices from New York City’s Congressional delegation.

Bronx/Queens Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and freshman Bronx/Westchester Congressman Jamaal Bowman issued a joint statement on March 12 demanding that Cuomo step down over the recent sexual assault and sexual harassment allegations made against him.

Manhattan/Brooklyn Congressman Jerrold Nadler, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, also called Friday for Cuomo’s resignation. Manhattan/Brooklyn/Queens Congresswomen Carolyn Maloney and Nydia Velázquez, Brooklyn Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, and Queens Congresswoman Grace Meng did the same.

The statements comes a day after more than 59 state legislators issued an open letter calling for Cuomo to resign, and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie authorized the Assembly Judiciary Committee to launch a formal impeachment inquiry. 

“This week, the second sexual assault allegation and the sixth harassment allegation was leveled against Governor Cuomo. 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,” Ocasio-Cortez and Bowman wrote in their joint statement.

“Unfortunately, the governor is not only facing the accusation that he engaged in a pattern of sexual harassment and assault. There is also the extensive report from the Attorney General that found the Cuomo administration hid data on COVID-19 nursing home deaths from both the public and the state legislature,” they added.

Ocasio-Cortez and Bowman said they believed Cuomo’s position as governor was no longer tenable, and that it would impede in the state government’s ability to properly function.

“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,” they wrote.

“After two accounts of sexual assault, four accounts of harassment, the Attorney General’s investigation finding the Governor’s admin hid nursing home data from the legislature & public, we agree with the 55+ members of the New York State legislature that the Governor must resign,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote in a tweet that accompanied the joint statement.

Nadler, meanwhile, believes Cuomo “has lost the confidence of the people of New York” and “must resign.” He also dismissed the suggestions made by some, including Cuomo, that the resignation calls were premature and “undemocratic.” 

“Governor Cuomo is guaranteed due process under law. Although his accusers are credible and the charges against him are serious indeed, the investigations under way by New York State Attorney General Letitia James and the Albany police must be permitted to run their course before we reach judgment about his liability for any alleged criminal act,” Nadler said in a statement. “But there is a difference between formal investigations that may end in criminal charges and a question of confidence in our political leadership. The question before us is squarely a political judgment.”

Congresswoman Yvette ClarkeFile photo/Todd Maisel

Clarke, in her statement, acknowledged she was reversing course from a previous stance in which she wanted a full investigation into the governor’s actions before making a call for Cuomo to resign.

“These allegations have reached a level that I believe impedes the governor’s ability to serve the people of New York state to the best of his abilities,” Clarke wrote. “I remain confident that Attorney General Tish James has the resources, prowess and ability to conduct a comprehensive and determinative report. However, I must join my colleagues in calling for Governor Andrew Cuomo to step down.”

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney at a Nov. 22 press conference in front of The Strand Bookstore.Photo by Mark Hallum

Maloney said she was with the victims, and with state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, in seeking Cuomo’s resignation from office

“I support those who spoke out about their stories and admire their courage. Thanks to the #MeToo and the Time’s Up movements, women are emboldened to step forward. I join with Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, my colleagues and others who have called on Governor Cuomo to resign in the best interest of all New Yorkers. 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.”

Congresswoman Nydia VelazquezFile photo/Todd Maisel

Velázquez, who represents parts of north and northwestern Brooklyn, argued that resigning was the only way the embattled governor could restore confidence in the state government.

“As public servants, we must earn the trust and respect of those we represent,” said Velázquez. “There is only one way the governor can truly restore accountability and confidence to his office: he must resign.” 

U.S. Representative Grace Meng (D-NY) speaks during the third day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 27, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar

While continuing to support a thorough investigation by Attorney General James, Meng said on Twitter that she believed Cuomo could no longer function as governor.

“The mounting sexual harassment allegations against Governor Cuomo are alarming,” Meng wrote. “The challenges facing our state and New Yorkers are unprecedented, and I believe he is unable to govern effectively. The governor should resign for the good of our state.”

Congressman Tom SuozziFile photo/amNewYork

Queens/Nassau Congressman Tom Suozzi, meanwhile, noted that Cuomo is “entitled to due process on the many serious and disturbing allegations that have been made against him.” However, he suggested that Cuomo should pause to consider the impact of his scandals upon government.

“The governor knows that the state still faces multiple crises that merit the undivided attention of its chief executive,” Suozzi said. “I believe the governor must seriously consider whether he can effectively continue to govern in the midst of these unfolding allegations. If he cannot effectively govern with all of the controversy surrounding him, he must put the interests of all New Yorkers first and he should resign.”

With reporting by Ben Verde

This story was updated on March 12 at 2:40 p.m.