ALBANY, N.Y. — Democrats with the power to impeach New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo plan to meet privately on Thursday to discuss “potential paths forward” after the emergence of serious new allegations led to a surge in calls for the governor to leave office.
More than 50 Democrats in the state Legislature issued a joint letter on Thursday calling on Cuomo to resign after the Times Union, an Albany newspaper, reported that an unnamed aide had recently accused Cuomo of groping her at the state’s Executive Mansion, where the governor lives.
Cuomo is accused of inappropriate behavior by six women and is also embroiled in scandal over claims his administration hid the number of deaths tied to Covid-19 outbreaks in nursing homes.
“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,” the Democratic lawmakers wrote in their letter. “We have a Lieutenant Governor who can step in and lead for the remainder of the term, and this is what is best for New Yorkers in this critical time. It is time for Governor Cuomo to resign.”
A majority of the members in the state Assembly — the chamber that would launch any potential impeachment of the governor — now support an end to Cuomo’s tenure. A total of 36 Democrats have now called for the governor to resign and seven for him to be impeached. Those 43 members, coupled with the chamber’s 43 Republicans, adds up to 86 — 10 more than would be required to impeach the governor.
Calling for the governor’s resignation is not the same as supporting the politically disruptive process of impeachment. And it’s unlikely the Assembly would move ahead with impeachment unless at least 54 Democrats, a majority, support doing so.
But Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said his Democratic conference will discuss what to do about Cuomo in a private meeting on Thursday. Options could include impeachment, at least one source said.
“In light of the allegations concerning the Governor over the last several weeks, I will be meeting with members in conference today on potential paths forward,” Heastie said in a Thursday morning statement.
The Times Union on Wednesday night detailed allegations that Cuomo fondled an aide under her blouse late last year when they when they were alone in the governor’s private residence. They followed an initial report from the day prior that the aide had told a supervisor she had been touched without her consent.
The aide told colleagues she was summoned to the Executive Mansion, which is a short walk from the governor’s office in the state Capitol, to help him with an issue on his cell phone, the newspaper reported. The allegation is under investigation by state Attorney General Tish James.
The latest allegation marked the fourth claim of harassment or inappropriate behavior to be raised by an employee of the governor. Two other women — Anna Ruch, who first met Cuomo at a wedding, and Karen Hinton, a former aide to Cuomo during his time at HUD — have also accused him of inappropriate behavior.
Cuomo has denied that he ever “inappropriately touched” anyone and specifically denied the newest accusation in a statement on Wednesday.
“As I said yesterday, I have never done anything like this. The details of this report are gut-wrenching,” Cuomo said. “I am not going to speak to the specifics of this or any other allegation given the ongoing review, but I am confident in the result of the Attorney General’s report.”
The governor has repeatedly said that he will not resign and has encouraged the public to withhold judgment until James completes her investigation of the allegation.
“The specific allegation that the governor called an employee of his, someone who he had power over, called her to a private place and then sexually assaulted her is absolutely unacceptable. It is disgusting to me,” de Blasio told reporters Thursday during a press conference at City Hall. “He can no longer serve as governor. It’s as simple as that.”
If you are a survivor of sexual assault, or you know someone who is, help is available. In the U.S., call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.
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