State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins on Sunday said that Gov. Andrew Cuomo “must resign,” as the number of sexual harassment accusers against him has grown to five — a sentiment State Assembly Majority Leader Carl Heastie appeared to echo.
In a brief statement issued shortly after a press briefing in which Cuomo vowed not to step down, Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) cited not only the mushrooming sexual harassment scandal, but also other black eyes including a looming federal probe over the Cuomo administration’s accounting of the coronavirus death toll in nursing homes.
“Everyday there is another account that is drawing away from the business of government,” said Stewart-Cousins. “We have allegations about sexual harassment, a toxic work environment, the loss of credibility surrounding the COVID-19 nursing home data and questions about the construction of a major infrastructure project.
“New York is still in the midst of this pandemic and is still facing the societal, health and economic impacts of it,” she continued. “We need to govern without daily distraction. For the good of the state Governor Cuomo must resign.”
Heastie (D-Bronx) followed up with a statement of his own in which he signaled agreement with Stewart-Cousins’ remarks — but stopped short of explicitly invoking resignation.
“The allegations pertaining to the Governor that have been reported in recent weeks have been deeply disturbing, and have no place whatsoever in government, the workplace or anywhere else,” said Heastie. “I too share the sentiment of Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins regarding the Governor’s ability to continue to lead this state.
“We have many challenges to address, and I think it is time for the Governor to seriously consider whether he can effectively meet the needs of the people of New York.”
Stewart-Cousins said last week — when Cuomo’s accusers numbered three: Lindsey Boylan, Charlotte Bennett and Anna Ruch — that the governor must step down if the number grew any higher.
Two more accusers — ex-aides Ana Liss and Karen Hinton — came forward on Saturday.
Stewart-Cousins previously said that further action should hinge on the findings of a probe by state Attorney General Letitia James into the allegations.
Cuomo has apologized to some of the women for making inappropriate comments, but steadfastly denied improper physical contact, as alleged by all of the women except Bennett.
The Cuomo administration did not immediately respond to a request for comment.