“We’re going to introduce this resolution because we believe the time has come. In order to lead this great state as governor, you need to have credibility and trust. And, unfortunately, we feel the governor has lost that, and now has an inability to lead,” Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay, a Republican, told a press conference in Albany on March 8.
Five women have accused Cuomo, a Democrat, of sexually harassing them, including four former aides. Two came forward over the weekend.
The new accusers prompted the state’s top Democrat, New York Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, to join the dozens of legislators who have called on Cuomo to resign.
“Every day, there is another account that is drawing away from the business of government. We have allegations about sexual harassment, a toxic work environment, the loss of credibility surrounding the COVID-19 nursing home data, and questions about the construction of a major infrastructure project,” Stewart-Cousins said in a statement, joining approximately 29 other Democrats who want Cuomo to step down.
While Republicans won’t be able to force a vote on the resolution, they hope Democrats will back them on the proposal.
At the same time the sexual harassment scandal unfolds, the governor is facing questions about his administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The questions center on his administration’s March 2020 memorandum that ordered nursing home operators to take back residents or accept new residents even if they tested positive for COVID-19. Critics say the order led to a higher number of nursing home resident deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP virus. But administration officials have defended the move, claiming that workers in the facilities were the primary cause of the virus spread.
New York officials have acknowledged withholding some nursing home death data from the public. Officials said they didn’t publish the figures because they couldn’t be verified, after a report said they altered the data under pressure from Cuomo’s administration.
The number of nursing home resident deaths shot up to 12,743 in a January disclosure that followed an investigative report by New York Attorney General Letitia James.
James, a Democrat, is due to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the sexual harassment claims. The Department of Justice, meanwhile, is conducting a probe of Cuomo’s COVID-19 order.
Cuomo has repeatedly refused to resign, telling reporters on March 7 that voters elected him.
“There is no way I resign,” he said.
Cuomo has offered apologies at a press conference and in a written statement to the women who have accused him, but urged New Yorkers to withhold judgment until the probe into the claims is finished.
Republicans on March 8 said the impeachment resolution is needed because of Cuomo’s refusal to step down.
“Each further day the governor spends in office threatens increased harm to our great state. He must be held accountable,” Assemblyman Jake Ashby, a Republican, told the press conference.