Will Andrew Cuomo Resign? New York Governor Defiant As Pressure Mounts

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has said he will not resign from office as calls for him to step down or be impeached continue to grow amid accusations of sexual harassment.

Three women have now claimed the three-term governor harassed them, while a national women's advocacy group has said he should resign. Several New York politicians have expressed similar views.

New York Attorney General Letitia James has been given authority to investigate the allegations. Cuomo, a Democrat, is also embroiled in a separate scandal following reports that the state underreported COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes.

Cuomo addressed the accusations on Wednesday, asking New Yorkers to wait for the results of a full investigation and apologizing to the women.

"I have learned an important lesson. I am sorry. I am sorry for whatever pain I have caused anyone. I never intended it," he said.

Cuomo said he had not touched the women "inappropriately" but acknowledged that his behavior might have been harmful in ways he was unaware of at the time.

"It was unintentional, and I truly and deeply apologize for it," Cuomo said. "I feel awful about it, and frankly I am embarrassed by it, and that is not easy to say. But that is the truth."

The governor said he would not resign. Cuomo's comments may do little to stem the tide of criticism, however. Several prominent Democrats have called on him to resign or suggested impeachment.

"Governor Cuomo should resign today," Shauna Thomas, executive director of women's advocacy group UltraViolet, said in a statement on Tuesday. "Sexual harassment should not be tolerated in any workplace, let alone by the Administration of the Governor of New York."

State Senator Alessandra Biaggi and Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou, both Democrats, have said Cuomo should resign. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has said Cuomo should leave office if the allegations are proven true following a full investigation.

"We've got to understand what happened here," de Blasio said. "If someone purposely tried to use their power to force a woman to have sex with them, of course that's someone who should no longer be in public service."

State Assemblyman Ron Kim, a Democrat, has said unequivocally that Cuomo should be impeached. This is a difficult and complex process that has only been carried out once in New York's history.

"It is time to be brave, to hold him accountable, to investigate his cover-up of nursing home information. It is time to undo the bad policies that led to unnecessary deaths. And it is time to start the impeachment process," Kim said in a Newsweek op-ed on February 22.

Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who represents New York's 14th district, suggested resignation and impeachment should be on the table if the allegations against Cuomo are proven.

"I think if these investigations bear out and if the details of these allegations are true—as well as deliberate misconduct in these nursing home numbers—it really starts to call into question the leadership that we currently have," Ocasio-Cortez told The Mehdi Hasan Show on Sunday.

"I don't think we rule anything out in either direction until we get the full facts of the situation," she added.

Cuomo has expressed no willingness to resign so far. However, the attorney general's investigation and ongoing political pressure make his future an open question.

If he does choose to resign, he'll be succeeded by Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul. He'd also become the second governor of New York to step down in living memory. Governor Eliot Spitzer resigned in 2008 due to a prostitution scandal. Lt. Governor David Patterson served the remainder of his term.

A Billboard Urging Andrew Cuomo to Resign
A billboard urging New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign is seen near downtown on March 2, 2021 in Albany, New York. Cuomo has said he will not resign from office. Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images