New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo made headlines for his leadership during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, but now he's in the news again for a more troubling reason. As of March 4, three separate women have accused Cuomo of sexual misconduct, all of which he has denied. Although Cuomo announced on March 3 that he doesn't plan on resigning, he still faces an independent investigation into the accusations. Meanwhile, people all over social media are calling for Andrew Cuomo's resignation as he faces mounting pressure and rebukes from his own party.
Cuomo first came under fire on Feb. 24, when former aide Lindsey Boylan publicly shared allegations describing how the governor allegedly sexually assaulted her in the workplace. Soon after, another former aide, Charlotte Bennett, came forward with similar allegations in a Feb. 27 piece published in The New York Times. Further allegations from a third woman, Anna Ruch, surfaced on March 1 in another Times article, which included a photo of the alleged incident, in which Cuomo allegedly asked if he could kiss her. In it, Cuomo can be seen cupping his hands around a visibly uncomfortable Ruch's face. "[I felt] uncomfortable and embarrassed," she told the Times. Cuomo publicly denied all allegations, addressing them for the first time in a March 3 press conference.
"[I] acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. It was unintentional, and I truly and deeply apologize for it," he stated. He added he had never touched anyone inappropriately. "I feel awful about it, and frankly, I am embarrassed about it, and that's not easy to say, but that's the truth." He also addressed the growing calls for his resignation, stating, "I wasn't elected by politicians. I was elected by the people. I'm not going to resign. We have a teetering NYC, terrible financial picture, vaccines ... so no, I'm going to do the job I was elected to do."
However, people — including fellow Democrats, Republican opponents, and the general public — are concerned. Many are referring back to the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and assault that gained traction in 2017 and 2018 and saw a number of prominent politicians leave office for alleged misconduct. Those accused of misconduct included politicians on both sides of the aisle, influential media figures, and popular entertainers.
On March 1, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced an investigation into Cuomo's conduct. "This is not a responsibility we take lightly," James said in a statement. "Allegations of sexual harassment should always be taken seriously." But in the meantime, many are still calling for Cuomo's resignation — and even impeachment.
These allegations and calls to resign are only a portion of Cuomo's mounting political woes, as his office is currently under an additional attorney general investigation for its alleged mishandling of information about nursing home deaths during the pandemic's first peak in 2020. In a Feb. 15 statement, the governor said that "in retrospect" his office should have "given more priority to fulfilling information requests." A representative of Cuomo also told NBC News that the governor's office was cooperating with the investigation. On March 2, the State Assembly and State Senate developed a bill to rescind some of Cuomo's emergency powers in relation to the pandemic. Although an official end date to the investigation into the governor's behavior hasn't been released, according to a March 1 authorization letter from Cuomo's office to James, the findings will be disclosed in a publicly available report.