Sunday, April 11, 2021

Cuomo scandal calls for resignation

by Carly Newton

As of now, seven women have come forward with sexual harassment allegations against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Each allegation has been denied by Cuomo, but as more women come forward, it seems like his time as governor is running out.

First elected in 2011, Gov. Cuomo is currently serving his third consecutive term as the governor of New York. Cuomo’s latest approval rating of 43% is the lowest it has been since he first took office.

In recent weeks, many prominent democrats and republicans have argued that Cuomo needs to resign — including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

But will Cuomo resign? Hopefully he will, but that is unclear.

Currently, Cuomo is adamant that he will not step down as governor. In an article published by The Hill, Cuomo said during a press conference, “Wait for the facts.” He believes that the investigations into the allegations will prove him innocent.

Members of Congress are not willing to wait; 14 members of New York’s congressional delegation have demanded he resign, and each day the number of lawmakers calling for his resignation is increasing.

“Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of the people of New York. Governor Cuomo must resign,” U.S. Representative from New York Jerry Nadler tweeted.

The first woman to come forward, Lindsay Boylan, a former adviser to Cuomo, said that Cuomo had kissed her on the lips as she was leaving his office, and while on a plane ride where he suggested they play strip poker. Since Boylan’s allegations first went public, six more women have come forward detailing their own experiences with the governor.

In a New York Post article, “Ex-Albany reporter Jessica Bakeman is the 7th woman to accuse Gov. Cuomo of sexual harassment,” Jessica Bakeman talked openly about her experience with the governor at the beginning of her journalism career. She said red flags went up after posing for a picture with him.

“He took my hand, as if to shake it, then refused to let go. He put his other arm around my back, his hand on my waist, and held me firmly in place while indicating to a photographer he wanted us to pose for a picture,” Bakeman said, in the New York Post article.

Bakeman, a former student at SUNY Plattsburgh, was also quoted in the article as saying, “It was about power. He wanted me to know that he could take my dignity away at any moment with an inappropriate comment or a hand on my waist.”

Cuomo’s bullying and power-driven antics are finally being exposed to the public. At this point, even if he chooses not to resign, Cuomo might be removed by impeachment. If he is impeached, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will become the new governor of New York: a move that would make her the first female governor in the state’s history.

On March 11, an impeachment investigation officially began. According to an article published by the Associated Press, the investigative team led by Attorney General Letitia James, has the power to subpoena documents and interview witnesses.

“James’ office sent a letter last week instructing the governor’s office to preserve all evidence related to the harassment allegations,” professor of political science, Harvey Schantz said. “That could include documents and emails to and from Cuomo’s staff, calendar entries and communications involving the transfer of one of his accusers to another office.”

Schantz mentioned that it is too early to say what the outcome of the crisis will be for Cuomo, but the withdrawal of support has continued to hurt him.

“We might be in a pause as everyone waits for the outcome of two official investigations of the governor, one led by the State Attorney General Letitia James and one by the Assembly Committee on the Judiciary,” Schantz said. “The fate of Cuomo largely depends upon the findings of these twin investigations. The Governor has been hurt by the apparent withdrawal of support from the Democratic Party leaders in both the Assembly and Senate, Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.”

For an impeachment of Gov. Cuomo to be successful, Schantz detailed the support that would be needed.

“In the State Assembly, it takes a majority of 76 votes in order to impeach the governor. If you add the votes of Democrats and Republicans, there is already a majority that wants the governor to resign. There have already been 40 Assembly Democrats calling for the governor to resign. The Speaker, however, would prefer to wait until 54 Democratic Assembly members want to impeach.”

As we wait to see what happens next, Gov. Cuomo will rightfully continue to feel pressure from members of congress to hand in his resignation. This pressure may eventually lead to Cuomo resigning before he is impeached and forced out against his will.

Time will tell.

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