Mayor Bill de Blasio cautiously waded into the drama that is Governor Andrew Cuomo’s snowballing sexual harassment allegation scandal on Monday morning, stating that Cuomo’s credibility as a leader is compromised.
Moreover, de Blasio sees things getting worse for Cuomo as time goes on — and backed Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins’ call for the governor to issue his resignation in light of two additional accusations coming out of the woodwork on Sunday.
“It’s gotten worse by the day and fewer and fewer people believe the governor and that’s a very sad state of affairs for our state, but, you know, we’re going to overcome it,” de Blasio said. “But people have to believe you to be effective as a leader and obviously you know what the state Senate majority leader said was a powerful statement. Unfortunately, you know, it’s a situation where fewer and fewer people are believing what the governor is saying and that has to be addressed… And I think there’s more information that’s going to come out that’ll just make it harder and harder.”
On Sunday, Cuomo said he would not consider resigning on the basis of accusations and would wait until Attorney General Letitia James concluded the investigation into what is now five women claiming sexual harassment going back as far as 2000.
Stewart-Cousins issued a statement soon after stating that government affairs in Albany were too important to tolerate the “distractions” of these allegations and that Governor Cuomo must resign for the sake of negotiating a budget as well as navigating the what remains of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Everyday 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,” Stewart-Cousins said Sunday. “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 Governor Cuomo must resign.”
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie issued a similar statement against the allegations against Cuomo without the call for his resignation.
But last week, Heastie led to charge to reclaim the emergency powers granted to Cuomo at the start of the pandemic, timing it with the allegations but attributing the reason for the resolution to give the legislature power to rescind executive orders with 50% support from state lawmakers to the simple explanation that the health crisis was in retreat.
De Blasio welcomed this return to normalcy.
“It’s time to restore the democratic process fully, it’s time to restore local governance. There’s a reason for hundreds of years we’ve had an approach to governance that gave such ability of local governments to control their own affairs and protect the lives of our own people, because we’re closest to the ground,” de Blasio said. “So we really need to get back to that, especially while Albany is going through some turbulence. It’s especially important to re empower localities, we’re strong, we’re stable, we’re moving forward.”
It is unclear what steps leaders in the legislature will take next if the governor does not take them up on the call for his resignation letter.
However, the term “impeachment” has been adopted by some of his most vocal opponents in recent weeks.