State leaders call on Cuomo to resign following AG findings in sexual harassment investigation

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Several local and state leaders responded Tuesday to findings from the New York Attorney General's Office investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Posted: Aug 3, 2021 1:38 PM
Updated: Aug 3, 2021 6:02 PM

Several local and state lawmakers responded Tuesday to findings from the New York Attorney General's Office investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Investigators found that Cuomo sexually harassed multiple current and former state government employees.

President Biden spoke out on the situation Tuesday afternoon, saying "I think he should resign." That seems to be the consensus among most state leaders, many of whom released statements following the announcement.

Congresswoman Claudia Tenney, R-22

"Attorney General Letitia James’ report is damning and deeply disturbing. Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed young women and then created a culture of fear and intimidation to cover it up. He abused his position, broke the law, and betrayed the trust of New Yorkers. He must resign and be prosecuted immediately. We cannot have a two-tiered justice system in America, which is why his reign of criminal corruption must come to end.

"I’ve been fighting to hold Cuomo accountable since 2014, when I first called for him to resign after he abused the Moreland Commission. He used it to attack his political opponents, then disbanded it when his own corrupt actions come under the microscope. Cuomo has ruled New York like a petty dictator for more than a decade. He’s killed our state’s economy and crushed opportunity across upstate New York for families and small businesses. His negligent policies and criminal coverup also led to the deaths of thousands of seniors. Enough is enough.

"New Yorkers also deserve to know who in his inner circle of thugs knew about his behavior, aided his predatory actions, and helped him cover it up. Cuomo’s co-conspirators are just as complicit. They must also be held accountable."

State Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-47

“Sexual harassment should not be tolerated in any form, and I want to reiterate that the women who have made these allegations should be respected.

I am in the process of reviewing the Attorney General’s extensive 165-page report. However, an initial review of the report highlights an alarming, troubling and disappointing pattern of judgement and behavior by the Governor. His behavior and the toxic work environment that has been chronicled befits a tabloid newspaper or a reality television program – not the New York’s Executive Chamber and state government.

The Governor prided himself on being the architect of the state’s sexual harassment policy, previously tweeting that ‘There should be a zero tolerance policy when it comes to sexual harassment & must send a clear message that this behavior is not tolerated.’ It appears the administration is indifferent to and/or ignored its own policy.

It is time for the individuals, organizations and groups who have made fighting sexual harassment a priority, along with Democrat leadership, to raise their voices, as some are beginning to do and let the public know that this inappropriate behavior will not and should not be tolerated. We also look to these organizations and individuals to act appropriately and to take appropriate action given what was presented today by the Attorney General, the state’s highest law enforcement official.

Further, the Assembly must now step up and stop dragging its feet. The Speaker must allow and the Assembly expedite its review of Governor’s actions.

Despite the Governor indicating to the contrary, this report and other ongoing investigations will continue to present a distraction at a time when we need to focus on the critical and important issues affecting our state. His political allies and partners in government have expressed no confidence in him continuing in his position. Accordingly, and to reiterate what I have said since the onset of this issue, the Governor needs to step down.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Sen. Chuck Schumer, joint statement

“As we have said before, the reported actions of the Governor were profoundly disturbing, inappropriate and completely unacceptable. Today’s report from the New York State Attorney General substantiated and corroborated the allegations of the brave women who came forward to share their stories -- and we commend the women for doing so.

“The New York State Attorney General has conducted an independent, thorough and professional investigation that found the Governor violated state and federal law, had a pattern of sexually harassing current and former employees, retaliated against at least one of the accusers and created a hostile work environment.

“No elected official is above the law. The people of New York deserve better leadership in the governor’s office. We continue to believe that the Governor should resign.”

Sen. Jim Tedisco, R-49

“This is truly a disappointing day for all New Yorkers but an important one to begin to provide some closure for all the women who were victims of this Governor’s actions. The New York State Attorney General’s disturbing report confirms what I’ve been saying for months, that Andrew Cuomo must be impeached and removed from office immediately. Enough is enough!”

Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-51

“The governor must resign immediately and face criminal charges.

“The governor said wait for the independent investigation from the attorney general, we now have that report and it is sickening to read. The heinous acts committed by the governor are unconscionable – he clearly violated the public trust, and moreover he treated a number of women in a disgusting, unlawful manner. I commend those who courageously stood up to this predator and praise them for their bravery.

“Additionally, the governor’s behavior was covered up by others. The AG’s findings show high level staff members acted in concert with the governor and they too must be held accountable.

“We also cannot forget that additional investigations are moving forward, including a probe into needless nursing home deaths and the governor’s attempted coverup.

“Short of resignation, the State Assembly must stop dragging their feet and impeach the governor immediately.”

Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush, R-117

“The attorney general made it clear to New Yorkers and the world that Gov. Cuomo is a serial sexual predator. He must resign immediately.”

Chairman Nick Langworthy, NYGOP

“While the findings of the Attorney General’s report are deeply disturbing and confirm Governor Cuomo violated state and federal laws, they should not come as a surprise to anyone. For months, we have heard the testimonies of multiple women who bravely detailed the horrific abuse and assaults perpetrated on them by this Governor and covered up by his administration.

“Sadly, this pattern of sexual harassment and abuse is only one chapter in the Cuomo book of corruption, law-breaking and sociopathic behavior. Countless lives have been destroyed by his actions throughout his tenure, but now is the moment where he must finally be held accountable.

“I called for Governor Cuomo’s impeachment on February 11th, and I renew that call today. If he does not immediately resign, Speaker Carl Heastie must call for a special session to bring articles of impeachment to the floor for an up or down vote. Democrats in Albany have been protecting him for too long--time is up.”

Sen. Andrew Stewart-Cousins, D-35, Senate Majority Leader

“This report highlights unacceptable behavior by Governor Cuomo and his administration. As I said, when these disturbing allegations first came to light, the Governor must resign for the good of the state. Now that the investigation is complete and the allegations have been substantiated, it should be clear to everyone that he can no longer serve as Governor.

"Our highest elected offices must reflect the values and integrity that they profess and New Yorkers hold dear. I thank the Attorney General and her investigators for their thorough investigation. I also wanted to give a special thank you to the courageous women who bravely stepped forward to shed light on this awful situation. We all owe them a debt of gratitude.”

Sen. Robert Ortt, R-62, Senate Minority Leader

“Today is a sad and sobering day for all New Yorkers. The Attorney General’s findings confirm and reinforce the allegations brought by the brave women who came forward against a powerful figure — that Andrew Cuomo is a serial harasser, unfit to hold public office. In the wake of another devastating report, now more than ever Andrew Cuomo must resign. If he fails to do so, the legislature must immediately reconvene to take action to remove him.

“New Yorkers have already been subjected to far too many lies, scandals and misdeeds perpetrated by this Governor and his associates. It is time to bring this sad, tawdry and corrupt chapter in New York’s history to a close, and to restore decency, honesty, and accountability to our state’s highest office. New York is facing profound challenges, ranging from a wave of violence in our streets, to a badly battered economy. To effectively address these challenges, we need a change in leadership as quickly as possible.

“I must also commend the Attorney General and her team for refusing to be intimidated by this Governor. From the very beginning, Andrew Cuomo and his associates attempted to bully, undercut, and undermine the Attorney General — all as part of an effort to prevent her from doing her job. From attempting to block the initial referral to the Attorney General’s office, to the intimidation of potential witnesses, to the blatant attempts to smear her integrity and motivations, this Governor left no stone unturned in his efforts to prevent the truth from being discovered.

“While this will undoubtedly go down as a dark day in New York’s history, we must now take steps to ensure that it will also be remembered as an important turning point that restores accountability and trustworthiness to state government.”

Assemblyman Brian Miller, R-101

“I am calling for Gov. Cuomo’s immediate resignation given the now proven allegation in the attorney general’s report. If he refuses to resign, the Assembly must take immediate action to impeach. The brave women who have come forward deserve nothing less.”

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul

"Sexual harassment is unacceptable in any workplace, and certainly not in public service. The Attorney General’s investigation has documented repulsive and unlawful behavior by the Governor towards multiple women. I believe these brave women and admire their courage coming forward.

"No one is above the law. Under the New York Constitution, the Assembly will now determine the next steps.

"Because Lieutenant Governors stand next in the line of succession, it would not be appropriate to comment further on the process at this moment."

Assemblyman Robert Smullen, R-118

“Attorney General James conducted a thorough investigation of the governor, and the findings are what we expected. It is paramount that the state Legislature hold him accountable and remove the governor immediately through the impeachment process, as I have advocated for in the past. We as New Yorkers cannot abide by any leader that uses their power to sexually harass hard-working employees.”

Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon, D-119

"Literally violations of state and federal law and I will be meeting with my colleagues this afternoon and we will further discuss the Judiciary Committee moving forward. What I have heard from many of my colleagues is that they would like to take time to digest the 168 pages. I haven’t gotten through it all, but what I have gotten through, it is sheer disgust."

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