ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) – More Democrats called for Andrew Cuomo to resign Friday, while others called for him to temporarily step aside as investigations into allegations of sexual harassment are conducted.
Local Democrats calling for Cuomo to resign Friday include U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins and State Senator Tim Kennedy. Meanwhile, Democratic Senator Sean Ryan and Assemblypeople Monica Wallace, Karen McMahon, Jon Rivera, and Bill Conrad say Cuomo should relinquish power temporarily as the investigations play out.
“The multiple investigations of Governor Cuomo and his administration have become a distraction to governance and Governor Cuomo should step aside while these important investigations are conducted,” Ryan, Wallace, McMahon, Rivera, and Conrad said in a joint statement.
All 20 Republican members of the New York State Senate and at least 38 Republican members of the New York State Assembly are calling on Cuomo to resign. While a majority of all members in both the state senate and state assembly say he should step down, Cuomo said again Friday he would not resign. He claims to have not done what is alleged.
“Politicians who don’t know a single fact, but yet form a conclusion and an opinion are in my opinion reckless and dangerous,” Cuomo said. “The people of New York should not have confidence in a politician who takes a position without knowing any facts or substance.”
More than 40 Democratic leaders from across New York State met Thursday night to discuss the situation.
“I think what (New York State Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs) was trying to do last night is to find out where everybody is,” said Erie County Democratic Committee Chairman Jeremy Zellner, who was on that call. “There were a handful of people who think the governor should just resign for a number of reasons. And there was a lot of people who want to see a thorough independent investigation.”
New York State Attorney General Letitia James is overseeing an investigation into the governor’s alleged conduct. Meanwhile, the Assembly Judiciary Committee is preparing an impeachment inquiry. Multiple sources say that investigation could include a look at the sexual harassment allegations, the Cuomo Administration’s handling of nursing home data during the COVID-19 pandemic, and questions about Mario Cuomo Bridge.
Three Western New York Assemblypeople sit on the Assembly Judiciary Committee: Wallace, McMahon, and Republican Michael Norris.
“I take this duty very seriously, (and) am committed to carefully weighing each allegation and then taking any necessary action,” Norris said.
McMahon, a former law clerk at the state and federal level, said Friday afternoon she had not yet heard from committee chairman Charles Lavine regarding what the investigation will look like and what timeline was being laid out.
“I expect that soon we’ll have a meeting of the committee and we’ll be able to just get a better picture of the outline, the contours of what this investigation will look like,” McMahon said.
“I think in order for an investigation to be thorough and complete, it’s going to take some time. It’s not going to be next week,” she added.
Chris Horvatits is an award-winning reporter and anchor who started working at WIVB in 2017. A Lancaster native, he came to Buffalo after working at stations in Rochester and Watertown. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.