At least a dozen House Democrats from New York on Friday said Cuomo must resign, arguing that the allegations have impeded his ability to effectively govern and serve the people of New York.
A source familiar with the conversations that preceded Friday’s coordinated call for Cuomo’s resignation said the group has been in touch as the allegations mounted, but only agreed to move forward together on Thursday. They decided to wait until Friday morning to go public so as not to step on President Joe Biden’s speech Thursday night.
The source said the tipping point for the members had been a combination of the most recent developments, including State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie’s announcement on Thursday that Democrats there would begin an impeachment investigation. The decision to go in, nearly all at the same time, was also an acknowledgement that when one made the call, it would up the pressure on all the rest.
They join Rep. Kathleen Rice, who earlier this month became the first out of the 19 Democrats in the New York House delegation to call for Cuomo to step down.
“As members of the New York delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives, we believe these women, we believe the reporting, we believe the Attorney General, and we believe the fifty-five members of the New York State legislature, including the State Senate Majority Leader, who have concluded that Governor Cuomo can no longer effectively lead in the face of so many challenges,” Ocasio-Cortez and Bowman said.
In separate statements Friday, fellow Democratic Reps. Grace Meng, Nydia Velázquez, Yvette Clarke, Adriano Espaillat, Mondaire Jones, Antonio Delgado, Sean Patrick Maloney and Brian Higgins also urged Cuomo to step down as governor.
The administration left out Covid-19 deaths of residents who had been transferred out of the facility or to hospitals, a statement from Attorney General Letitia James’ Office said. While the report found that the overall number of deaths did not change, it led to a misrepresentation of the Covid-19 death toll in New York’s long-term care facilities.
Cuomo and his administration defended their decision, arguing that with both the Justice Department and New York state lawmakers asking questions, the federal inquiry became their priority. The governor denied any suggestion of wrongdoing.
“The bravery individuals have shown in coming forward to share their experiences with Governor Cuomo is inspiring, and I stand with them in support,” Nadler said Friday. “The repeated accusations against the Governor, and the manner in which he has responded to them, have made it impossible for him to continue to govern at this point.”
Several of the Democrats on Friday said New York State Attorney General Letitia James’s investigation into Cuomo’s behavior should continue.
This story has been updated with additional information.