President Joe Biden called on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) to resign on Tuesday, answering a reporter’s direct question regarding what Cuomo should do now that an independent investigation has found that he harassed multiple women and created a hostile work environment, The Hill reported.
When Biden was questioned about Cuomo’s defense — in which he claimed he was simply affectionate and that his actions and comments were misunderstood — the president said, “I’m sure there were some embraces that were totally innocent. But apparently, the attorney general decided there were things that weren’t.”
The president’s comments were consistent with a March interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, in which he said that Cuomo should resign if the investigation revealed that sexual harassment incidents had occurred.
The report by New York Attorney General Letitia James found that Cuomo had harassed multiple former staffers, including a state trooper assigned to protect him, and had created a “hostile work environment.”
Civil probe may turn criminal
“Specifically, the investigation found that Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed current and former New York state employees by engaging in unwelcome and nonconsensual touching and making numerous offensive comments of a suggestive and sexual nature that created a hostile work environment for women,” James said in a press conference Tuesday.
James said the probe was of a civil nature, not criminal, but Biden said in March that Cuomo should also face potential criminal charges if the findings indicated that he harassed his accusers.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also called early Wednesday for Cuomo to face criminal charges for his alleged actions and noted that the Albany attorney general is looking into the allegations.
“He harassed them, he assaulted them in several cases — it’s not even close — and then he has the audacity to say, ‘Oh, you know, I like to hug people,'” de Blasio said on CBS This Morning.
Impeachment may follow
“If you assault a woman, you do something against her will sexually, that’s criminal. And the Albany County district attorney is looking at that and I think he should be charged,” de Blasio said.
When host Gayle King pointed out that Cuomo was trying to chalk up the accusations to generational differences, he added, “Putting your hand up a woman’s shirt and touching their breast is not generational. I know plenty of guys who are older who would never in a million years do that.”
De Blasio said he was sure the New York State Assembly will move to impeach Cuomo if he refuses to resign.
“I absolutely believe he must resign for the good of New York state and our people. If he doesn’t, the clamor, which is universal at this point Democrats and Republicans, saying he’s gotta go is going to win the day. If he wants to wait for impeachment, he can, but it’s coming soon in our state legislature,” the mayor added.