ALBANY, N.Y. — Despite several Democratic political leaders calling for his resignation, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters on Friday that he's "not going to resign," because "what is being alleged simply did not happen."
“People know the difference between playing politics, bowing to cancel culture and the truth,” said Cuomo during a phone briefing. “Let the review proceed. I’m not going to resign. I was not elected by the politicians. I was elected by the people.”
The governor went on to say that he believes women have a right to come forward and be heard.
"But I also want to be clear – there is still a question of the truth. I did not do what has been alleged. Period," he said.
Progressive U.S. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is among the Congressional Democrats now calling for Cuomo to resign. She and fellow representative Jamaal Bowman said in a joint statement Friday that they believe the women who have accused Cuomo of sexual assault and harassment.
“This week, the second sexual assault allegation and the sixth harassment allegation was leveled against Governor Cuomo. The fact that this latest report was so recent is alarming, and it raises concerns about the present safety and well-being of the administration’s staff,” wrote the lawmakers. “These allegations have all been consistent and highly-detailed, and there are also credible media reports substantiating their accounts.”
The Times Union of Albany reported that an unidentified aide accused Cuomo of reaching under her shirt and fondling her. The woman hasn’t filed a criminal complaint, but a lawyer for the governor said the state had reported the allegation to the Albany Police Department after the woman declined to do so herself. Police have said they stand ready to investigate the groping allegation and it’s something that may rise “to the level of a crime,” according to The New York Times.
In their statement, Ocasio-Cortez and Bowman also point the accusation that the Cuomo administration hid data on COVID-19 nursing home deaths from the public and the state legislature.
Similarly, Rep. Jerry Nadler, the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, also released a statement Friday, calling on Cuomo to step down. The New York lawmaker says the governor has lost the confidence of New Yorkers.
“The bravery individuals have shown in coming forward to share their experiences with Governor Cuomo is inspiring, and I stand with them in support,” wrote Nadler. “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.”
Also on Friday, New York Reps. Brian Higgins, Carolyn B. Maloney, Adriano Espaillat, Nydia Velazquez, Yvette D. Clarke, and Antonio Delgado joined the call for Cuomo to resign.
Along with these Democratic lawmakers in the U.S. House, a majority of state legislators are also calling for resignation, according to a tally by The Associated Press.
On Thursday, New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced he was authorizing a judiciary committee to begin an impeachment investigation into Gov. Cuomo.
The governor, who once was celebrated for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, has denied ever touching anyone inappropriately and has apologized if he ever made anyone uncomfortable.