March 2, 2021 By Christina Santucci
Several Queens elected officials are calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to step down in the wake of three women accusing him of sexual harassment.
Politicians — such as state Sen. Jessica Ramos, Assemblywoman Jessica González-Rojas and Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer — have said that he should resign.
Meanwhile, others — including U.S. Reps. Carolyn Maloney, Grace Meng and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as well as Assembly members Nily Rozic and Catalina Cruz — have called for an independent investigation — a move that is currently in the works.
The most recent calls for his resignation come after a third accuser — Anna Ruch — told the NY Times about an unwanted advance by Cuomo at a wedding in 2019. The paper also published a photo from the event of Cuomo gripping Ruch’s face in his hands.
“That photo. It’s chilling. Like I said Saturday night, #CuomoResign,” Van Bramer tweeted.
González-Rojas and Ramos also posted about the governor on social media.
“It’s time for Governor Cuomo to resign,” González-Rojas tweeted on Monday evening. Just hours later, Sen. Jessica Ramos wished political candidates good luck on their first day of collecting signatures to get on the ballot, and added, “It’s also a great day for the governor to resign.”
If Cuomo were to step down or is removed, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul would finish out his term.
Meanwhile, Assemblyman Zohran Mamdani also joined five other Socialist state legislators in issuing a statement that advocated for the governor’s impeachment.
“Impeachment proceedings are the appropriate avenue for us to pursue as legislators to hold the governor accountable for his many abuses of power and remove him from office,” the statement read. It was released from the office of Sen. Julia Salazar, who represents a district in Brooklyn.
Ruch is the third woman to come forward with allegations against the governor. Just days earlier, Charlotte Bennett, a former aide to Cuomo, accused him of asking her inappropriate questions about her sex life and making comments that she interpreted as overatures.
Meanwhile, another former staffer — Lindsey Boylan — published an essay last week, saying that the governor suggested they play strip poker and tried to kiss her in 2018. A spokesperson for Cuomo called Boylan’s allegations false.
The governor has not appeared publicly since last Thursday, according to the Wall Street Journal.
In a statement Sunday, Cuomo responded to what he called questions about his past interactions and denied propositioning or touching anyone inappropriately.
“I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation. To the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that,” he said.
But State Sen. Michael Gianaris, who represents western Queens, called Cuomo’s statement “unfortunate” during an interview with NY1 Monday.
“There’s a big difference between ‘I’m sorry if you were offended by what I did,’ and ‘I’m sorry for what I did,’” Gianaris said. “His was more of the first and less of the latter.”
Cuomo had already been under fire for under-reporting deaths of COVID-19 victims from nursing homes. His admission followed a report by New York Attorney General Letitia James that found his administration failed to include thousands of deaths in its totals.
Assemblyman Ron Kim, who represents Flushing, and several other Democrats accused the governor last month of “intentional obstruction of justice” for withholding the nursing home data from state and federal officials.
Kim has suggested that the state legislature begin a formal investigation into the governor “with all options on the table, including impeachment.”
Kim had also been among legislators calling for Cuomo to be stripped of his COVID-19 emergency powers — which was in the works Tuesday afternoon.
The Assembly and state Senate had reportedly struck a deal to remove the governor’s expanded powers and require legislative review of modifications to and renewals of pandemic-related directives, according to published reports.