Biden Breaks Silence Over Cuomo...Well Kind Of
President Joe Biden on Sunday broke his silence on the sexual misconduct scandal plaguing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Responding to a question about whether the embattled governor should immediately resign, Biden noted that an investigation is underway and that the public should wait for its outcome.
“I think the investigation is underway and we should see what it brings us,” Biden told reporters at the White House. His statement represents his first comments on the mounting controversy.
Cuomo is facing calls from Democrats to resign after seven women came forward to accuse the governor of inappropriate sexual conduct. New York Attorney General Letitia James is currently probing the allegations against Cuomo. Meanwhile, Cuomo has remained resolute about not stepping down, blaming “cancel culture” for the pressure.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) in a statement late Friday urged Cuomo to resign, arguing the governor has lost the confidence of his “governing partners and the people of New York” amid this controversy.
“Confronting and overcoming the COVID crisis requires sure and steady leadership. We commend the brave actions of the individuals who have come forward with serious allegations of abuse and misconduct. Due to the multiple, credible sexual harassment and misconduct allegations, it is clear that Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of his governing partners and the people of New York. Governor Cuomo should resign,” the two lawmakers said in a statement.
Other congressional lawmakers who are calling for his resignation include Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).
Similarly, over 55 Democratic New York legislators had signed a letter on Thursday calling for Cuomo’s resignation and the New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said that its Judiciary Committee has been authorized to initiate an “impeachment investigation” into the allegations. This probe will run parallel to James’ review.
Biden’s comments echo remarks made by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) this week who called the accusations “credible and serious,” but stop short of calling for Cuomo’s resignation.
“The governor should look inside his heart, he loves New York, to see if he can govern effectively,” Pelosi said on ABC’s This Week.
In response to the pressure, Cuomo described himself as a political outsider, while urging the public to wait for the investigation to conclude.
The governor said that it’s “politicians who don’t know a single fact but yet form a conclusion and an opinion” who are calling on him to resign, describing such prospects as “reckless and dangerous.” He added: “Let the review proceed, I’m not going to resign, I was not elected by the politicians, I was elected by the people.”
“I am not part of the political club, and you know what? I am proud of it,” Cuomo said. “I have been in the public eye my entire life. My entire life I have been under public scrutiny, since I was 23 years old and ran my father’s campaign. New Yorkers know me. Wait for the facts.”
Cuomo is also the subject of multiple investigations over the scandal regarding the state’s high number of nursing home deaths. Critics say an order from Cuomo led to the higher number of COVID-19 deaths but administration officials have defended their decisions, claiming that workers in the facilities were the primary cause of the virus spread.
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