New York Governor Andrew Cuomo defiantly rejected calls for her resignation as more women havewith accusations of sexual harassment against him, saying Sunday that there is “no way” he will resign. But shortly after her press conference, New York State Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a Democrat, said she “must resign.”
“Every day there is another account that walks away from government business,” Stewart-Cousins said in a statement Sunday afternoon. “We have allegations of sexual harassment, a toxic work environment, the loss of credibility around 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 social, health and economic impacts of it. We need to govern without daily distractions. For the good of the state, Governor Cuomo must resign. ”
House Speaker Carl Heastie, also a Democrat, stopped short of saying openly that Cuomo should resign, but said in a statement that Cuomo should “seriously consider” whether he can lead the state. “I also share the sentiment of Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins regarding the governor’s ability to continue to lead this state,” Heastie said.
Cuomo insisted early Sunday that he continues to focus on the state’s response to COVID-19 and the vaccination effort, saying the allegations will not “distract him.”
“I was elected by the people of the state, not by politicians,” Cuomo told reporters Sunday. “I’m not going to resign on charges. The premise of resigning on charges is actually undemocratic.”
Cuomo spent the weekend communicating with state leaders and lawmakers telling them he will not resign, two people familiar with the conversations told CBS News. In phone calls, the Governor repeats what he has said publicly: Please be patient and allow an investigation overseen by New York Attorney General Letitia James to proceed.
In these conversations, Cuomo is calling for due process, saying that others who have faced similar allegations have had a chance to have investigations unfold before possible accountability, according to one of the people familiar with the approach.
Another person told CBS News that Cuomo has support across the state, “but you never know how deep or wide.”
It was unclear exactly who the governor spoke to or how many calls he made, but the list includes Stewart-Cousins and other lawmakers, the two people said.
Two more women came forward Saturday with allegations that Cuomo acted inappropriately, for which five women charged him. WhileHe was “embarrassed” and apologized for “any pain I caused him,” taking a more defiant tone Sunday. He said an alleged incident with a woman, Lindsey Boylan, “did not happen,” and said Sunday’s allegations by a former assistant, Karen Hinton, “are not true.”
One of Cuomo’s accusers, Charlotte Bennett, described him as a “textbook abuser” in an exclusive interview with “CBS Evening News” host Norah O’Donnell. Bennett alleges that on June 5, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in devastated New York, Cuomo asked him if he was ever intimate with an older man and said he was comfortable dating women decades younger than him. .
to a friend and reviewed by CBS News commemorated his encounter with Cuomo immediately after the alleged conversation. In messages, Bennett told a friend that Cuomo “talked about age differences in relationships.”
Her friend, who checked the messages, asked, “Wait what” and “Did she do something?”
“No,” Bennett replied. “But it was as explicit as it could be.”
When asked by CBS News on Sunday if he heard about, Cuomo said no. Again he insisted that he would be awaiting the results of an investigation by Attorney General Letitia James.
“It’s not about me or the allegations against me; the attorney general can handle that. It’s about doing people’s business,” Cuomo said. “These next six months will determine the future trajectory of New York State.”
On Sunday, the editorial board of the Albany Times Union, a newspaper that endorsed Cuomo’s three campaigns for governor, said Sunday that he should resign.
But the newspaper focused on the other scandal engulfing the governor: the deaths of thousands of state residents in nursing homes during the pandemic and his administration’s alleged attempts tothe full scope of the problem.
“New York cannot overcome this public health crisis if New Yorkers do not know if the governor and health officials are being honest with them overnight,” the editorial board wrote.
“Today was a blow to the body, for sure,” said a state official, who was granted anonymity to speak frankly about the governor’s political position amid concerns about possible retaliation. “It’s not over until it’s over, but this was a bad 24 hours for him.”
Cuomo said he has focused on getting the state budget approved. The New York state constitution mandates that the budget be approved by April 1, and Cuomo submitted his budget in mid-January. According to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, New York will receive $ 12.5 billion in stimulus money in the, although Cuomo had sought $ 15 billion.
“This doesn’t mean it will be an easy budget, but now it will be a possible budget,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo also announced Sunday that, with the exception of New York City, restaurants in New York State will now be able to open at 75% capacity.
Norah O’Donnell, Michael Kaplan, Julie Morse, Adam Verdugo, and Caitlin Yilek contributed to this report.