Following a sixth allegation of sexual assault and misconduct against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman joined the growing call for Cuomo to resign. On Friday morning, Ocasio-Cortez and Bowman wrote a joint letter saying that there was no real alternative for the governor other than to step down.
"As members of the New York delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives, we believe these women, we believe the reporting, we believe the Attorney General, and we believe the fifty-five members of the New York State legislature, including the State Senate Majority Leader, who have concluded that Governor Cuomo can no longer effectively lead in the face of so many challenges," Bowman and Ocasio-Cortez wrote in their statement.
Their statement comes in response to the most recent — and most serious — allegation against Cuomo. According to a new report, an anonymous staffer said that sometime last year, Cuomo called her to his Executive Mansion where he non-consensually reached under her blouse and fondled her. In response, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio also spoke out for the first time asking for Cuomo to leave office.
"It's deeply troubling. The specific allegations that the governor called an employee of his, someone who he had power over, called them to a private place, and then sexually assaulted her is absolutely unacceptable. It is disgusting to me, and he can no longer serve as governor," de Blasio said during a press conference.
This is the first time that de Blasio has spoken out about the assault allegations. Cuomo, whose term would come to a close in 2022, is now the subject of other calls for resignation or even impeachment. On Thursday, New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie also demanded an "impeachment investigation" into the allegations — a process that would involve interviewing witnesses and studying evidence of the allegations as a first step towards full impeachment.
Cuomo was first accused of harassment by Lindsey Boylan, a former aide, in December 2020. Boylan, who is now running for Manhattan Borough President, shared her story on Twitter and then in an essay, after which others stepped forward to detail similar accounts of harassment and abuse. Cuomo is also under investigation for allegedly covering up the number of deaths in New York nursing homes in the early months of the pandemic. According to a 76-page report from New York Attorney General Letitia James, nursing home residents that had been transferred into hospitals after contracting COVID-19 were not accounted for in reporting the number of deaths within the homes themselves.
Prior to these public statements demanding Cuomo leave office, the New York governor commented on the allegations on Wednesday night. "I have never done anything like this. The details of this report are gut-wrenching. 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," he stated.
It is unclear if Cuomo is prepared to step down or face a full impeachment trial at this time, though he has previously stated that he does not plan to resign from his post.