The US President Joe Biden is the latest to join the Democrats calling on powerful New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign after an independent investigation carried out recently concluded that he indeed sexually harassed women. .
The New York governor however denied the allegations and resisted immediate calls to quit after the probe found he harassed current and former New York state employees.
However it looks like the trouble is just getting started for him late Tuesday after Biden and House speaker Nancy Pelosi said the three-term governor should step down and state lawmakers moved to impeach him.
“I think he should resign,” Biden was reported telling reporters in Washington on Tuesday.
The probe report detailed allegations by 11 women that clearly depicted an ugly picture of a style of abusive behavior by Cuomo and his senior staff, the state Attorney General Letitia James said, while announcing the findings from the probe.
The five-month investigation “concluded that Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women and in doing so violated federal and state law,” James told a news conference.
She further stated that Cuomo engaged “in unwelcome and non-consensual touching and making numerous comments of a suggestive sexual nature that created a hostile work environment for women.”
The investigation also revealed that Cuomo further took retaliatory action against at least one former employee for coming out to reveal the story of her encounter with the governor.
Cuomo however issued an unequivocal total denial of the sexual harassment allegations. He said in a pre-recorded televised statement:
“I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances,”
“I am 63 years old. I have lived my entire adult live in public view. That is just not who I am. And that’s not who I have ever been.”
And he went on suggest that resignation was not in anyway on his mind, saying: “What matters to me at the end of the day is getting the most done I can for you.
“And that is what I do every day. And I will not be distracted from that job. We have a lot to do.”
Cuomo also published a response to every allegation made by the women against him on his website, adding: “Please take the time to read the facts and decide for yourself.”
Defending his actions, he added pictures of prominent Americans, including Biden and ex-president Barack Obama, kissing and hugging people at various occasions.
One former employee said Cuomo slipped his hand under her blouse last year, while a trooper on Cuomo’s protective detail said he inappropriately touched her stomach and hip.
His conduct was “not just old fashioned affection and behavior as he and some of his staff would have it, but unlawful sex-based harassment,” said Anne Clark, one of the lawyers heading the investigation.
All the women involved never welcomed his attentions, the other lawyer leading the probe, Joon Kim, said. “All of them found it disturbing, humiliating, uncomfortable and inappropriate.”
Clark detailed one incident where Cuomo prepared a letter he wanted to release to the press attacking one of the alleged victims, though he was ultimately persuaded not to.
And Kim said Cuomo and his staff fostered a “climate of fear” that kept women from speaking out.
The investigators said that at least one report has been made to police about Cuomo’s behavior, and that their findings could be used in any criminal investigations. The women involved can also decide whether they want to sue Cuomo, they said.
“I am inspired by all the brave women who came forward. But more importantly, I believe them,” said James.