New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is quickly losing the support of some of his closest Democratic allies after a Tuesday report from the New York Attorney General’s Office found he sexually harassed 11 women, leaving him increasingly isolated—and vulnerable—as state lawmakers ponder removing him from office.
Since the release of the 168-page report—which details a pattern of sexual harassment ranging from inappropriate comments to non-consensual touching—Cuomo has been disavowed by the entire Democratic congressional delegation of New York, all federal Democrats from his state and President Joe Biden.
“I think he should resign,” Biden said in brief remarks Tuesday night, shortly after another of Cuomo’s longtime allies, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who has appeared at his side frequently over the years, similarly backed calls for his resignation in a statement emphasizing “his love of New York.”
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, both Democrats from New York, issued a joint statement as well calling for Cuomo’s resignation and labeling the allegations against him “profoundly disturbing.”
New York state lawmakers are looking into the governor’s impeachment, and the only three members of the state’s Democratic congressional delegation who hadn’t asked Cuomo to step down—House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries, and Reps. Gregory Meeks and Tom Suozzi—joined the rest of the state delegation Tuesday in deeming it time for Cuomo “to do the right thing for the people of New York and resign.”
And the blows didn’t end there as two of the influential labor unions that make up the backbone of the governor’s institutional support, 32BJ and the Hotel Trades Council, also publicly distanced themselves from him.
59%. That’s the share of New Yorkers who believe Cuomo should resign, according to a poll of more than 600 adults conducted by Marist College last night. Just under half of those surveyed (44%) say the governor did something illegal.
Despite his waning support at home and nationally, Cuomo has made no indication he plans to resign. In his response to the report, the governor doubled down on assertions of his innocence and maintained he “never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances.” ‘That is just not who I am and that’s not who I have ever been,” Cuomo said.
What To Watch For
Unless Cuomo relents and steps down voluntarily, it will be up to state lawmakers to force his removal by bringing impeachment charges against him. The New York State Assembly, which is the chamber that has the power to bring impeachment charges against the governor, has been investigating Cuomo for months to decide whether it should launch proceedings. On Tuesday, Speaker Carl Heastie, a Democrat, said Cuomo can “no longer remain in office” and that the legislature will expedite its impeachment investigation. But that will still just be the start of the process.
Cuomo has “lost the confidence of the assembly Democratic majority,” Heastie said. “Once we receive all relevant documents and evidence from the Attorney General, we will move expeditiously and look to conclude our impeachment investigation as quickly as possible.”
If the Assembly did choose to initiate impeachment proceedings, New York politics could present an obstacle for lawmakers. If articles of impeachment are approved by a majority in the state Assembly, a trial will take place in the state Senate, where a High Court of Impeachment will be tasked with deciding the governor’s fate. In addition to the state’s 63 senators, this cohort must include seven judges from the Court of Appeals, and a two-thirds majority of the combined bodies must vote to convict. Notably, the seven judges from the Court of Appeals are all Cuomo appointees. Only one governor in New York’s history has been impeached: Gov. William Sulzer, who was ousted in 1913.
If Cuomo isn’t impeached, he has signaled he plans to run for a fourth term in 2022, though he hasn’t publicly commented on this since the attorney general’s report was released. He has already started fundraising for the race, which has already drawn a number of Republican opponents, but no Democratic challengers.
“Here’s how impeachment works in New York” (Politico)