New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio on Thursday joined the chorus of calls condemning Gov. Andrew Cuomo amid an avalanche of scandals involving allegations of inappropriate conduct from six women and growing evidence that his office altered COVID-19 data related to nursing home deaths.
The city’s mayor said that he was particularly disturbed by a Times Union report this week that detailed allegations by an aide who told her supervisor as sexual harassment claims sprung up over the past week that she had a number of inappropriate encounters with Cuomo, including one that involved the governor allegedly groping her after calling her to his private residence and closing the door.
“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,” De Blasio said, calling the allegations “disqualifying” for the governor.
“He can no longer serve as governor. It’s as simple as that,” he added.
De Blasio notably did not explicitly call on the governor to resign, though his comments amount to one of the most prominent New York officials upping the pressure on Cuomo.
De Blasio also said that the third-term governor who was once lauded as a national leader amid the coronavirus pandemic, disqualified himself to serve amid his “purposeful coverup” of the figures related to COVID-19 nursing home deaths.
The remarks come as more than 55 New York state Democratic legislators issued a joint statement on Thursday morning calling for Cuomo’s resignation.
NEW: 55+ Democratic state lawmakers have issued a statement calling on @NYGovCuomo to resign, citing sexual harassment allegations and the nursing homes scandal.
Story tk. pic.twitter.com/30y8IYKnDd
— Luis Ferré-Sadurní (@luisferre) March 11, 2021
“In light of the Governor’s admission of inappropriate behavior and the findings of alternated 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 legislators wrote.
“It is time for Governor Cuomo to resign,” they added, noting that the state’s lieutenant governor could step in to lead for the remainder of Cuomo’s term while attorney general Letitia James conducted an independent investigation into the various allegations lodged against the governor.
The mounting calls for Cuomo’s resignation were led by the state’s top Democratic lawmaker, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Senate majority leader, who on Sunday said that Cuomo should resign among the piling scandals.
“Everyday there is another account that is drawing away from the business of government,” Stewart-Cousins said in a statement. “We need to govern without daily distraction. For the good of the state Governor Cuomo must resign.”
Her push for his resignation came shortly after Cuomo said during a press conference on Sunday that it would be “anti-democratic” for him to step down.
“There is no way I resign,” Cuomo told reporters at the time. “I was elected by the people of New York state. I wasn’t elected by politicians.”