ALBANY, N.Y. — Embattled New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo doubled down in defending himself against calls for his resignation on Sunday, saying that quitting would be “undemocratic.”
His comments during a press briefing came after two more women came forward over the weekend to accuse him of inappropriate behavior.
“I’m not going to resign because of allegations,” he told reporters on a conference call. “The premise of resigning because of allegations is actually antidemocratic. We’ve always done the exact opposite — the system is based on due process and the credibility of the allegations.”
Cuomo said on Wednesday that he had no intention of resigning and will instead allow an investigation overseen by state Attorney General Tish James to play out.
Cuomo’s comments Sunday were preceded by a statement from NAACP New York Conference President Hazel Dukes — one of Cuomo’s few public defenders in recent days — saying that demands for the governor’s resignation are “premature.”
“Only a full, fair hearing of the facts will determine whether or not the Governor should resign. It should not be a decision made following the beat of a political drum,” Dukes said in a statement issued via the state Democratic Committee, which Cuomo effectively controls. “Only a full, fair hearing of the facts will determine whether or not the Governor should resign. It should not be a decision made following the beat of a political drum.”
The governor described calls for his resignation as thinly veiled opportunism.
“I have a news flash for you: There is politics in politics,” he said. “And look, I have political differences with people. I have political differences with Republicans. I have political differences with Sen.[Alessandra] Biaggi and Democrats. But they don’t override the people’s will. They don’t override elections. They don’t get to hear an allegation and make a determination on the allegation.”
Biaggi, who represents portions of the Bronx and Westchester County in the New York state Senate, has been among Cuomo’s sharpest critics.
Cuomo’s insistence on due process contrasts significantly with his tone shortly after a 2018 New Yorker article detailed former Attorney General Eric Scheiderman’s alleged mistreatment of women in his personal life. At the time, the governor urged him to step down “for the good of the office,” which he did soon thereafter.
“My personal opinion is that, given the damning pattern of facts and corroboration laid out in the article, I do not believe it is possible for Eric Schneiderman to continue as Attorney General,” Cuomo said.
On Sunday Cuomo specifically denied an account by Karen Hinton, a former press aide to Cuomo. In an article published Saturday by The Washington Post, Hinton said that in 2000, Cuomo, who was then secretary of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, hugged her in a hotel room in a way that made her feel uncomfortable. Hinton later worked as a spokesperson for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio — whom Cuomo detests — and the governor portrayed her as a “longtime political adversary.”
The comments also came a day after The Wall Street Journal detailed allegations from former policy aide Ana Liss that Cuomo “asked her if she had a boyfriend, called her sweetheart, touched her on her lower back at a reception and once kissed her hand when she rose from her desk.”
The governor has faced mounting pressure in recent days from Republicans and members of his own party. Though she has not issued a statement since the reports on Saturday, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins told Capital Tonight on Thursday that if “any further people” came forward, “I think it would be time [for Cuomo] to resign.”