Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo attracted widespread praise in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic for his daily briefings and perceived leadership skills.
His reputation has subsequently been tarnished amid multiple scandals, including allegations of sexual harassment. Now, even former ally President Joe Biden is calling for the governor to step down.
“A sad day for New York”
According to reports, the president’s declaration on Tuesday came after New York Attorney General Letitia James released a report that concluded Cuomo’s conduct amounted to improper and illegal behavior.
Speaking to reporters at the White House, Biden said: “I’m not going to flyspeck this. I’m sure there were embraces that were totally innocent. But apparently, the attorney general decided that things weren’t.”
Citing an ongoing impeachment probe by the Democratic-led state legislature, the president acknowledged that he has “not read all that data.”
As for James, she detailed the report in a statement this week and asserted that its findings made it “a sad day for New York.”
Investigators working on the case “have concluded that Governor Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women and, in doing so, broke the law,” the attorney general added.
“That’s just not who I am”
Her office determined that Cuomo’s claims of innocence “lack credibility” and are “inconsistent with the weight of the evidence obtained during our investigation.”
Additional details that surfaced as a result of the recent investigation include evidence of an alleged smear campaign orchestrated by Facebook executive Dani Lever against one of the women who accused the governor of sexual misconduct. Lever previously worked in Cuomo’s press office and is said to have leaked confidential information about the accuser in question.
“Ms. Lever coordinated with some of the reporters who received the documents to let them know that the Executive Chamber would be sending them,” the report concluded.
For his part, Cuomo is maintaining the same defiant attitude he has exhibited throughout the scandal and shows no signs of stepping down despite mounting calls for him to do so.
“I have never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances,” he said. “I am 63 years old. I’ve lived my entire adult life in public view. That’s just not who I am.”