March 12, 2021 By Allie Griffin
Governor Andrew Cuomo refused to step down Friday despite mounting calls for his resignation from powerful federal lawmakers after six women accused him of sexual harassment.
The vast majority of the Democratic members of New York’s congressional delegation — including several from Queens — called for Cuomo to resign in a flurry of statements Friday morning.
Queens Congress Members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Grace Meng and Carolyn Maloney all demanded Cuomo resign this morning along with Congress Member Jerrold Nadler — the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and one of the highest-ranking members of Congress.
“The challenges facing our state and New Yorkers are unprecedented, and I believe [Cuomo] is unable to govern effectively,” Meng said in a statement. “The Governor should resign for the good of our state.”
The calls for Cuomo’s resignation follow a report published by the Albany Times Union Wednesday in which a young female staffer said Cuomo groped her underneath her blouse during a meeting at the Executive Mansion late last year. She is the sixth woman to accuse the governor of inappropriate behavior.
Cuomo flatly denied the allegation during a conference call with reporters Friday.
“I did not do what has been alleged. Period,” he said.
The state attorney general is leading an investigation into the multiple allegations Cuomo now faces.
On Friday, Cuomo characterized the lawmakers seeking his resignation as “reckless and dangerous.” He said that they should wait until the results of the attorney general’s investigation are released.
He claimed their calls for him to step down were a result of “playing politics [and] bowing to cancel culture.”
“The people of New York should not have confidence in a politician who takes a position without knowing any facts or substance,” Cuomo said during the conference call. “That, my friends, is politics at its worst.”
The governor said that he supports a woman’s right to come forward, but later added that both his accusers and the legislators seeking his resignation may have political motives.
Thus far, Democratic Congress Members Ocasio-Cortez, Meng, Maloney, Nadler, Kathleen Rice, Yvette Clarke, Antonio Delgado, Mondaire Jones, Adriano Espaillat, Nydia Velázquez, Jamaal Bowman, Brian Higgins, Sean Patrick Maloney and Paul Tonko have called on Cuomo to resign.
Velázquez who represents Brooklyn in Congress also represents a small portion of Queens.
Meanwhile, Congress Member Tom Suozzi, whose district includes parts of Queens and Long Island, released a more moderate statement following Cuomo’s 1 p.m. call with reporters.
Suozzi said Cuomo should resign if he cannot effectively govern amid the controversy enveloping his administration.
“I believe the Governor must seriously consider whether he can effectively continue to govern in the midst of these unfolding allegations,” he said in a statement. “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.”
Southeast Queens Congress Member Gregory Meeks has not called on Cuomo to resign. Brooklyn Congress Member Hakeem Jeffries, whose district includes a small part of Queens, has not called for his resignation either.
On Thursday, more than 55 state legislators, including 14 from Queens, called for Cuomo’s resignation.
The governor urged New Yorkers to wait for the result of the attorney general’s investigation before passing judgement and waved off the calls for his resignation.
“Let the review proceed. I’m not going to resign,” Cuomo said. “I was not elected by the politicians; I was elected by the people.”