The Bronx’s top lawmaker, New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, has called on Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign in the wake of state Attorney General Letitia James’ explosive report into pervasive sexual harassment within the governor’s office.
“I believe women, and I believe these 11 women,” James said at a new conference on Tuesday, referring to the women who accused Cuomo of assaulting them.
Most jarringly for Cuomo’s political future, Heastie, a fellow Democrat, called Cuomo “not fit for office.”
“The findings contained in the report are disturbing. The details provided by the victims are gut-wrenching,” the speaker said in a statement. “The conduct by the Governor outlined in this report would indicate someone who is not fit for office.”
Heastie had previously been riding the fence on behalf of Cuomo, saying he would wait for James’ report before making a decision to proceed with impeachment hearings.
Now, the governor finds himself in hot water, with few politicians coming to his defense.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams — the Democratic nominee for mayor — called in a statement for the assembly to impeach Cuomo if he “will not resign.”
“Attorney General James conducted a thorough and revealing investigation that yielded disturbing conclusions about the conduct of Governor Cuomo,” Adams said. “It is now the duty of the New York State Assembly to take swift and appropriate action and move forward with impeachment proceedings if the governor will not resign.”
Heastie is reportedly holding a meeting with his caucus to discuss the path forward, and many local elected representatives are holding off on commenting on the situation until that meeting concludes.
Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki called the allegations against Cuomo “abhorrent,” and President Joe Biden late this afternoon reiterated his prior statements. Previously, Biden has said Cuomo should resign “if the allegations are corroborated” and added that “I think he’ll probably end up being prosecuted, too.”
On the heels of James’ report, Biden, when asked today by reporters, said Cuomo should now step down.
“I think he should resign,” Biden said.
For his part, Cuomo has denied most of the allegations levied against him, while downplaying others.
“I want you to know directly from me that I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances,” the governor said in a recorded video on Tuesday.
-with reporting by Christian Falcone