New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo should be criminally charged after a report commissioned by the state attorney general asserted that the governor broke state and federal law in sexually harassing 11 women, adding that Cuomo’s attempts to defend himself were “ridiculous” and “an embarrassment.”
De Blasio said he believes there’s grounds for Cuomo, who de Blasio has been publicly feuding with for years, to be prosecuted based on New York State Attorney General Letitia James’ report, and criticized the governor for refusing to resign and denying the report’s conclusions.
“Him trying to put out some slick video to say it’s culturally okay to harass and assault women, that’s ridiculous and it was an embarrassment,” de Blasio said, referring to a slideshow Cuomo showed during a press conference Tuesday.
After the report was made public Tuesday, Cuomo tried to recast the inappropriate behavior outlined by the report as shows of affection, showing photos of him kissing powerful politicians like former President Bill Clinton, saying “I do it with everyone.”
Cuomo and de Blasio are one-time allies whose relationship has turned openly hostile over the past few years, with the two publicly butting heads on issues like public housing and the New York City subway system. Their feud continued during the coronavirus pandemic, with the mayor and governor sniping at each other through statements to the press on issues such as shelter-in-place mandates, closing city schools and reopening timelines.
An investigation ordered by the state attorney general’s office found Cuomo violated state and federal law by sexually harassing 11 women, most of whom worked for him. The two outside attorneys brought in for the job, Joon Kim and Anne Clark, interviewed 179 witnesses and reviewed more than 74,000 pieces of evidence. Cuomo himself was reportedly interviewed for 11 hours as one of the investigation’s final steps. President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and newspaper editorial boards nationwide have already called on the governor to resign, but Cuomo has given no indication he plans to step down.