Mounting up pressure on Andrew Cuomo to quit his post, US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand called Friday on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign, in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate touching.
"Confronting and overcoming the Covid crisis requires sure and steady leadership. We commend the brave actions of the individuals who have come forward with serious allegations of abuse and misconduct," the two New York senators said in a joint statement, making them the most powerful Democratic voices yet to calls for the governor to leave office, AP reported.
"Due to the multiple, credible sexual harassment and misconduct allegations, it is clear that Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of his governing partners and the people of New York. Governor Cuomo should resign."
Earlier, both of them had said an independent investigation into the allegations against Cuomo was essential.
A growing number of Democrats have been calling for his resignation, including US congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who said Friday the governor could no longer effectively lead New York, however, Andrew Cuomo still stands defiant.
The latest accusation, reported Wednesday in the Times Union newspaper in state capital Albany, appears more serious than previous claims.
It says Cuomo put his hand under the blouse of a female staffer and touched her "aggressively" at the end of 2020 in his private residence.
"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," popular progressive Ocasio-Cortez and fellow House Democrat Jamaal Bowman said in a joint statement.
The lawmakers, both from New York, also mentioned the crisis over Cuomo's apparent hiding of data on COVID-19 nursing home deaths.
"We believe these women... and we believe the 55 members of the New York State legislature including the State Senate majority leader, who have concluded that Governor Cuomo can no longer effectively lead in the face of so many challenges," they wrote, AFP reported.
Another powerful Democrat, House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler, said investigations must be allowed to run their course, but that does not mean Cuomo should remain in office.
"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 in a statement.
"Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of the people of New York. Governor Cuomo must resign."
Cuomo made a name for himself last year as a straight-talking pragmatist in the first onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic.
But he has found himself in the biggest crisis of his political career as he governs the nation's fourth most populous state.
However, the NY Governor on Friday denied to resign over the emerging swirl of allegations.
"I am not going to resign," the 63-year-old told reporters on the call, as he insisted "I didn't do what has been alleged".
Cuomo reiterated that his critics should "wait for the facts" to emerge in a new investigation of the accusations.
The governor first refused publicly to step down last week, but the crisis has only mushroomed since.
Remaining in office appears increasingly untenable for the governor, who has served in the post for 10 years and whose father Mario Cuomo was also a three-term governor of the state.
After meeting with lawmakers, Democratic state assembly speaker Carl Heastie said Thursday he was "authorizing the Assembly Judiciary Committee to begin an impeachment investigation" -- the first step towards an eventual impeachment.