Aug. 3, 2021 By Allie Griffin
Multiple Queens elected officials have called on Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign — or be impeached — after the attorney general announced the findings of an independent report that concluded he sexually harassed nearly a dozen women in violation of state and federal laws.
Queens electeds are calling on Cuomo to step down — or face impeachment — in response to the 168-page report published Tuesday, which found that the governor sexually harassed 11 women, including former and current state employees.
The Queens legislators’ views are shared by President Joseph Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer. Each has called on Cuomo to resign following the accounts of his “unwanted groping, kissing, hugging and inappropriate, sexual comments” outlined in the investigation.
Cuomo — in a pre-recorded video broadcasted following the release of the bombshell report — denied touching anyone inappropriately or making inappropriate sexual advances. His video included photos of him kissing and hugging people throughout the years, which he says is part of his normal behavior and not sexually abusive.
He appears to have no plans to resign, but is likely to face impeachment at the hands of the State Assembly.
Eight Queens assembly members have called for the governor’s resignation or impeachment since the report was released.
Assembly Members Nily Rozic, Jessica González-Rojas, Ron Kim, Daniel Rosenthal, Andrew Hevesi, Brian Barnwell, Zohran Mamdani and Khaleel Anderson each said they supported impeachment proceedings.
“Today’s report from New York State Attorney General Letitia James confirms my initial assessment: the Governor’s actions are clearly grounds for impeachment,” Rozic said in a statement. “No one should be subjected to sexual harassment or a toxic work environment, especially not at the highest levels of our state’s government.”
González-Rojas, meanwhile, called Cuomo’s video statement “gaslighting garbage.”
“Since Cuomo won’t resign, we must impeach him,” she tweeted.
My heart aches for every survivor who had to hear this gaslighting garbage.
Since Cuomo won’t resign, we must impeach him.
— Jessica González-Rojas (@votejgr) August 3, 2021
Several of the assembly members said they should reconvene immediately to begin impeachment proceedings.
“As state representatives, we are calling on Speaker Heastie to immediately reconvene the Assembly and begin formal impeachment proceedings,” Mamdani said in a joint statement with fellow socialist legislators.
The Assembly has already launched it own investigation into the governor. The Assembly’s judiciary committee has hired outside lawyers to investigate the sexual harassment allegations as well as other scandals involving Cuomo.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said the attorney general’s report has been forwarded to the members of the judiciary committee as well as all members of the Assembly.
He said that the Cuomo can no longer remain in office, given the fact that he has lost the support of Assembly Democrats.
“After our conference this afternoon to discuss the Attorney General’s report…it is abundantly clear to me that the Governor has lost the confidence of the Assembly Democratic majority and that he can no longer remain in office,” Heastie said in a statement Tuesday evening.
“Once we receive all relevant documents and evidence from the Attorney General, we will move expeditiously and look to conclude our impeachment investigation as quickly as possible.”
Cuomo can be removed following a two-step process. First, he would have to be impeached by a simple majority in the Assembly. The case would then move onto the High Court of Impeachment, which consists of sitting state senators — except the majority leader — and members of New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals.
If two thirds of the Court of Impeachment vote to convict the governor, he will be removed from office.
Five of the seven state senators in Queens have called for Cuomo’s resignation since the sexual harassment allegations first surfaced.
Senators Michael Gianaris, Toby Ann Stavisky, John Liu, Jessica Ramos and James Sanders have all called on Cuomo to resign either in a March 11 letter or on Tuesday. Stavisky, Liu and Ramos have also called on the Assembly to impeach him.
Gianaris, the Senate deputy leader, said the attorney general’s report “clearly and concisely documents that Governor Cuomo engaged in disturbing and unacceptable behavior.”
“Andrew Cuomo lacks the integrity required to be the leader of our state and can no longer serve as New York’s Governor,” he added. “He must heed the calls of so many New York leaders and resign.”
Queens lawmakers at the federal and local levels have also called for Cuomo’s resignation.
Reps. Hakeem Jeffries, Thomas Suozzi and Gregory Meeks issued a joint statement commending the women who came forward and called on Cuomo “to do the right thing” and resign.
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards also put out a statement regarding the attorney general’s investigation. He said the Assembly should swiftly move forward with impeachment proceedings if Cuomo doesn’t resign.