UPDATE: President Joe Biden has said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo should resign after the state Attorney General found Gov. Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women in a bombshell investigation released Tuesday.
“He should resign,” Biden told reporters at the White House.
When asked by CNN’s Kaitlan Collins if Gov. Cuomo should be removed from office is he refuses to resign, Biden said, “I understand the state legislature may decide to impeach, I do not know that for a fact.”
Gov. Cuomo denied the sexual harassment allegations from 11 women after Tuesday’s investigation was released.
He spoke at a press conference Tuesday afternoon after Attorney General Letitia James’ months-long investigation found that he sexually harassed multiple women, retaliated against an accuser and fostered a toxic work environment.
Gov. Cuomo apologized to accuser and former aide Charlotte Bennett for personal comments that he claims were taken out of context. He also denied touching anyone inappropriately, saying that he has a history of touching family members, colleagues and strangers on the face when greeting them.
The Attorney General’s investigation, released Tuesday morning, states that Gov. Cuomo “sexually harassed a number of current and former New York State employees by, among other things, engaging in unwelcome and nonconsensual touching, as well as making numerous offensive comments of a suggestive and sexual nature that created a hostile work environment for women.”
The investigation also says that Gov. Cuomo retaliated against a former employee who complained publicly about his conduct. His harassment violated federal and state laws, according to the investigation.
“Our investigation revealed that the Governor’s sexually harassing behavior was not limited to members of his own staff, but extended to other State employees, including a State Trooper on his protective detail and members of the public,” the 165-page report says. “We also conclude that the Executive Chamber’s culture — one filled with fear and intimidation, while at the same time normalizing the Governor’s frequent flirtations and gender-based comments — contributed to the conditions that allowed the sexual harassment to occur and persist. That culture also influenced the improper and inadequate ways in which the Executive Chamber has responded to allegations of harassment.”
The probe began in March after multiple women came forward with allegations of sexual harassment by Gov. Cuomo and the state’s executive chamber granted James’ request to investigate the claims. Several Democratic state lawmakers, including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, urged Gov. Cuomo to resign after the allegations were publicized. Gov. Cuomo denied any wrongdoing after the accusations came to light and stated that he would not resign.
After the investigation was released, Time’s Up issued a statement calling for Gov. Cuomo to resign.
“The findings of the investigation further cement the fact that the powerful can no longer hide behind their influence and threats when people they’ve harmed are demanding accountability and justice. The independent investigation, which included 74,000 pieces of evidence and 179 witnesses, found that Governor Cuomo violated both federal and state laws, and that a toxic and hostile work environment existed,” Time’s Up said. “He has failed to protect the women who worked in New York State government and therefore shouldn’t be permitted to govern. We applaud Attorney General James for the thoroughness of her investigation and now that it’s over, we’re calling on Governor Cuomo to resign immediately. It’s imperative that he face the consequences of his actions and be held to account by the State Assembly and law enforcement authorities in New York.”
Watch Cuomo’s press conference below.