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Multiple New York lawmakers call for Cuomo to resign as governor

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Multiple members of New York’s congressional delegation called Friday on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign in the wake of mounting allegations of sexual harassment and an allegation of groping, as well as scrutiny over his administration’s reporting of COVID-19 deaths among nursing home residents.

The Democratic governor has denied he ever touched anyone inappropriately, and has said he’s sorry if he ever made anyone uncomfortable.

But a majority of state lawmakers are calling on him to resign, and more than half of New York’s Democratic congressional members have joined those calls. On Friday, U.S. Reps. Jerry Nadler, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jamaal Bowman, Mondaire Jones, Nydia Velazquez, Adriano Espaillat, Carolyn Maloney, Grace Meng, Antonio Delgado, Brian Higgins, Yvette Clarke pushed for Cuomo’s resignation, joining Kathleen Rice, who called for Cuomo’s resignation previously.

Other Republicans in New York’s Congressional delegation previously called for Cuomo’s resignation, including Nicole Malliotakis, Elise Stefanik, Claudia Tenney and Lee Zeldin.

Nadler said Cuomo has lost the confidence of New Yorkers.

“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,” Nadler said.

The delegation also pointed to sweeping criticism of Cuomo for keeping secret how many nursing home residents died of COVID-19 for months. The governor has claimed his administration had to verify deaths of residents at hospitals, but critics question why that hasn’t held up the release of data in other states.

“After two accounts of sexual assault, four accounts of harassment, the Attorney General’s investigation finding the Governor’s admin hid nursing home data from the legislature and public, we agree with the 55+ members of the New York State legislature that the Governor must resign,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.

Cuomo’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The governor in recent days has been calling lawmakers and supporters asking them to refrain from calling for his resignation, and instead support the ongoing investigations.

The state Assembly allowed an impeachment investigation into Cuomo on Thursday as lawmakers investigate whether there are grounds for impeachment.

In weeks past, calls for the governor’s impeachment or resignation have come from Republicans or left-leaning Democrats in New York City. But more Democratic lawmakers from surrounding and upstate communities are now urging the governor to resign as investigations into his conduct continue.

Along with an allegation that the governor groped a female aide at the Executive Mansion last year, Cuomo is facing allegations of sexually suggestive remarks and behavior toward women, including female aides. One aide said he asked her if she would ever have sex with an older man. And another aide claimed the governor once kissed her without consent, and said governor’s aides publicly smeared her after she accused him of sexual harassment.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki has repeatedly said that President Joe Biden and vice-president Kamala Harris both support the attorney general’s investigation into the harassment allegations.

Spokespeople for New York’s Democratic U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment Friday.

Cuomo, who took office in 2011, has pointed to his reelections as indication of strong statewide support, which was bolstered last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The third-term governor also touted his administration’s passage of liberal goals such as same-sex marriage as evidence that his hard-nosed approach to politics works.