New York, March 8 (IANS) Top Democratic lawmakers from New York have urged state Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign after two more former aides accused him of inappropriate behaviour, as well as due to allegations that his administration was altering Covid data, it was reported.
The calls were made on Sunday by Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie in separate statements, The Hill news website reported.
The latest development comes after the New York Attorney General’s office announced last week that it would probe allegations of sexual harassment against the Governor, who apologised after two women said they made him feel uncomfortable while working in his administration.
A third former aide said he made sexual advances toward her at a wedding.
In her statement, Stewart-Cousins said: “Every day there is another account that is drawing away from the business of government. 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. We need to govern without daily distraction. For the good of the state Governor Cuomo must resign.”
Heastie in his statement said: “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.”
Later in the day, another New York Democrat, Senator Michael Gianaris tweeted that he agreed with Stewart-Cousins calling for Cuomo’s resignation “so we can move our state forward”.
Besides the harassment and improper behaviour alleagation, a senior Cuomo adviser acknowledged to the legislature that state administration had been covering up data about the number of nursing home residents who had died of the Covid over fears of a federal probe.
But in a press briefing, Cuomo said he will not resign, saying he was “elected by the people of the state. I wasn’t elected by politicians”.
“The premise of resigning because of allegations is actually anti-democratic and we’ve always done the exact opposite. You know the system is based on due process and the credibility of the allegation,” The Hill news website quoted the Governor as saying.
“This is not about me and accusations about me. The attorney general can handle that. This is about doing the people’s business, and this next six months I believe will determine the future trajectory for New York state.”