Both U.S. Democratic senators from New York — Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand – have joined the growing chorus of lawmakers calling on Cuomo to resign as a seventh woman has come forward accusing the governor of some form of sexual harassment or inappropriate touching.
“I said there’s zero tolerance for sexual harassment and we have taken measures in the House of Representatives – very strong measures – under leadership of Rep. Jackie Speier of California,” Pelosi began during an appearance on ABC’s “This Week.”
Speier, D-Calif., will chair a hearing of the House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee on Tuesday to examine ways to reform sexual harassment allegations in the military following the murder of Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen.
Also Read: What are the types of Sexual Harassment?
Pelosi, referencing Cuomo, continued, “What I said at the time that these revelations came forward, I said what these women have said must be treated with respect, they are credible and serious charges, and that I called for an investigation.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James is investigating harassment allegations, and Cuomo has said he will “fully cooperate” with her probe. The FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn are also investigating his administration’s admission that it underreported thousands of COVID-19 nursing home deaths over the summer.
“I have confidence in the attorney general of New York – she had called for, I think, an expeditious investigation, and, again, with all the respect in the world for what these women have come forth and said,” Pelosi said Sunday, before then attempting to distance herself in Congress from dealings in New York State. “In terms of … see you’re talking about New Yorkers now … in terms of, generally speaking, people have to look inside themselves and say, and Gov. Cuomo also, ‘how affected is their leadership in leading the state in the circumstances that are there?’ But I do think that the women deserve to hear the results of these investigations, as does the governor.”
“Again, no, no tolerance. No tolerance,” she said. “This is a subject very near and dear to my heart. No tolerance for sexual harassment. Let the world know that.”
“But you’re not calling on him to resign right now?” ABC host George Stephanopoulos pressed.
“I think we should see the results of the investigation… but he may decide,” Pelosi responded. “And hopefully this result will be soon. What I’m saying is the governor should look inside his heart – he loves New York – to see if he can govern effectively. And that could be one of the considerations that he has.”
Nearly 90% of New York’s congressional delegation has called for the governor’s resignation or impeachment, as have more than 80% of state senators. Last week, the state Assembly initiated what could be the first step toward impeachment by opening an investigation with full subpoena power into sexual misconduct allegations against the governor and his handling of COVID-19 at nursing homes.
James does not have the power to remove Cuomo from office, but any findings corroborating the allegations could sway potential impeachment proceedings — or add pressure for Cuomo to leave voluntarily. There is no deadline for completing the investigation and James hasn’t said how long she expects it to take.