NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A flood of new calls for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to step down hit like a tsunami Friday morning, and many came from his own party.
A majority of Democrats in the state legislature and all but six of the state’s U.S. House representatives have called on him to resign.READ MORE: Suffolk Police: Franklyn Charles, 18, Charged In Crash That Killed Jennifer Figueroa, 30, In Wyandanch
They were joined Friday evening by Senator Majority Leader Charles Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
“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,” Schumer and Gillibrand said in a statement.
As CBS2’s Alice Gainer reports, the governor is urging people to wait for the facts.
“I’m not gonna resign. I was not elected by the politicians, I was elected by the people,” Cuomo said.
His voice raised at times during a conference call Friday afternoon, Cuomo responded to a dozen new calls from congressional Democrats who released statements calling for his resignation.
Read my statement calling for the resignation of Governor Andrew Cuomo. pic.twitter.com/JyZntu9HJS
— Rep. Nadler (@RepJerryNadler) March 12, 2021
“The repeated accusations against the governor, and the manner in which he has responded to them, have made it impossible for him to continue to govern at this point,” Rep. Jerrold Nadler said.
Nadler drew a distinction between due process under the law and political reality.
“But there is a difference between formal investigations that may end in criminal charges and a question of confidence in our political leadership. The question before us is squarely a political judgment,” he said. “Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of the people of New York. Governor Cuomo must resign.”
“I did not do what has been alleged, period,” he said. “Let the review proceed. I am not going to resign.”
The governor also said politicians calling for him to step down without “the facts” were being “reckless and dangerous.”
“Politicians who don’t know a single fact, but yet form a conclusion and an opinion are in my opinion reckless and dangerous. The people of New York should not have confidence in a politician who takes a position without any facts or substance. I’m not gonna resign. I was not elected by the politicians. I was elected by the people. Part of this is that I’m not part of the political club, and I’m proud of it,” Cuomo said.
“I never harassed anyone, I never abused anyone, I never assaulted anyone… and I never would,” Cuomo said. “Do a review, get the facts, give the facts to the people of the state, and then let’s take it from there.”
The governor said he will continue to work on the budget, the vaccine rollout and more.
“This is not the first time we’ve had to walk and chew gum,” he said. “This is how government works. You handle multiple issues at the same time.”
“I think I can be a tremendous help, and I am focused on my job,” he said.
Watch Alice Gainer’s report —
“I’m not going to argue this issue in the press, that is not how it is done, that is not how it should be done. Serious allegations should be weighed seriously, that’s why they’re called ‘serious.’ There are facts and there are opinions and I’ve always separated the two,” he added.
“The last allegation is not true, and I have not had a sexual relationship that was inappropriate, period,” he said.
Newly elected Rep. Mondaire Jones is among the 12 Friday, and responded to that saying they’re upset about the alleged sexual and workplace behavior. But that’s not all.
“The treatment of seniors in our nursing homes throughout the state, all of which are fact based analyses, and not susceptible to to opinions,” Jones said.
Jones was referring to Attorney General Letitia James’ preliminary report that showed COVID-19 nursing home deaths were underreported. The governor has claimed his administration had to verify the deaths of residents at hospitals before updating the count at nursing homes.
After two accounts of sexual assault, four accounts of harassment, the Attorney General’s investigation finding the Governor’s admin hid nursing home data from the legislature & public, we agree with the 55+ members of the New York State legislature that the Governor must resign. pic.twitter.com/jV5dwtuVPr
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 12, 2021
“Unfortunately, the governor is not only facing the accusation that he engaged in a pattern of sexual harassment and assault. There is also the extensive report from the attorney general that found the Cuomo administration hid data on COVID-19 nursing home deaths from both the public and the state legislature,” they wrote. “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.”
See my statement below on Governor Cuomo. pic.twitter.com/eNkDlIFlMP
— Grace Meng (@RepGraceMeng) March 12, 2021
“The mounting sexual harassment allegations against Governor Cuomo are alarming. The challenges facing our state and New Yorkers are unprecedented and I believe he is unable to govern effectively. The governor should resign for the good of our state,” said Rep. Grace Meng.
In public office, one must earn the trust and respect of those they represent. Governor Cuomo has lost the public's confidence. He must resign. pic.twitter.com/s83DGNTQ5g
— Rep. Nydia Velazquez (@NydiaVelazquez) March 12, 2021
“As public servants, we must earn the trust and respect of those we represent. There is only one way the governor can truly restore accountability and confidence to his office: He must resign,” said Rep. Nydia Velazquez.
“We have to recognize that the governor at this point is morally unfit to serve this state,” State Sen. Jabari Brisport said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio also chimed in.
“Unfortunately, what we’re seeing here is a pattern of cover-up, and a pattern of lies. It is unacceptable. The governor must resign. He can no longer do the job,” de Blasio said.READ MORE: Alec Baldwin Was Told Gun Was "Cold" Before Fatal Movie Set Shooting, Court Records Show
Thursday, state lawmakers launched an impeachment investigation. Allegations of inappropriate behavior by a sixth woman also came out, and Friday an article in New York magazine details allegations of a toxic workplace by a former employee. Another article by a former statehouse reporter says “Andrew Cuomo’s hands had been on my body – on my arms, my shoulders, the small of my back, my waist… I never thought the governor wanted to have sex with me. It wasn’t about sex. It was about power.”
“I never harassed anyone. I never assaulted anyone. I never abused anyone,” Cuomo said. “Let’s get the review. Then let’s get the facts. Then New Yorkers can make a decision. Once you get facts. You don’t have facts – you have allegations.”
Allegations that continue to grow in number.
Lindsey Boylan was the first woman to come forward with allegations against the governor.
“I didn’t want this fight. I didn’t choose the fight. It’s the last fight I wanted to have my career and my name be about, but I will take it on because it’s unjust,” she told the Gotham Gazette.
The former aide says she’s fed up with the old boys’ club.
“If I didn’t speak up, how were especially women were are younger than I who don’t have the privilege of a platform that I do ever gonna get out of this vicious cycle, and it’s far too common and it needs to end,” Boylan told the Gotham Gazette.
The 36-year-old says Cuomo forcibly kissed her and asked her to play strip poker.
“We do not have accountability when the governor of this state preys on women, mostly younger than myself, and then lies about it,” Boylan told the Gotham Gazette.
For Boylan, it’s about the next generation.
“I’m raising a daughter, and I refuse to see the future look like mine has looked for her,” she told the Gotham Gazette.
With more lawmakers saying the governor should step down White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked Friday if President Biden is joining those calls and think Cuomo should resign.
“The president believes every woman who comes forward, there have been six now, I believe, who have come forward, deserves to have her voice heard, should be treated with respect and should be able to tell her story,” Psaki said.
She said the president supports James’ independent investigation, and added that the White House will continue to work with the Cuomo administration to coordinate COVID relief and vaccination efforts.
In addition to the statements Friday, on Thursday more than 55 Democratic state legislators released a statement asking him to resign.
They’re not only upset about the alleged inappropriate sexual and workplace behavior, but also the alleged coverup of nursing home deaths during the pandemic.
“We don’t want to have a daily controversy getting in the way of just proceeding and working our best for the people of New York state,” said Assemblywoman Judy Griffin.
Thursday night, State Assembly Speak Carl Heastie announced the Assembly judiciary committee will begin an impeachment investigation, with subpoena power. Queens Assemblyman David Weprin (D) is on the committee.
“We’re not making any predeterminations,” Weprin said. “The facts will take us where they take us.”
For the governor, the question is how long can he hang on?
“Can Andrew Cuomo still do his job in the face of this?” CBS2’s Dick Brennan asked Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf.
“Andrew Cuomo is at the acme of his work right now. It’s called the budget. That’ll take some time, but once that budget is struck, it’s gonna be tough for him to function,” Sheinkopf said. “The problem with Andrew Cuomo is you’re nobody until everybody hates you, and that’s exactly what’s going on right now.”
News of the impeachment investigation comes as Albany police were drawn into the latest sex allegations against the governor. The department received notice from a lawyer from Cuomo himself about accusations in the Albany Times Union newspaper that Cuomo groped an unidentified female aide.
Beth Garvey, acting counsel to the governor, said she was following state policy.
“In this case the person is represented by counsel and when counsel confirmed the client did not want to make a report, the state notified the police department and gave them the attorney’s information,” Garvey said.
Police say they have not opened an investigation but what allegedly happened may rise to the level of a crime.
The governor has denied the groping allegations, saying “I have never done anything like this. The details of this report are gut wrenching,”
The case joins five others against Cuomo.MORE NEWS: Campaign 2021: Early Voting Begins In New Jersey And New York City
CBS2’s Dick Brennan contributed to this report.