Gov. Andrew Cuomo Digs In Amid Calls to Resign

Gov. Andrew Cuomo Digs In Amid Calls to Resign

ALBANY, N.Y.—New York

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

dug in this weekend against growing demands from fellow Democrats that he step aside as he faces accusations of inappropriate conduct toward multiple women and criticism over the state’s handling of Covid-19 in nursing homes.

House Speaker

Nancy Pelosi

(D., Calif.) said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that Mr. Cuomo “should look inside his heart—he loves New York—to see if he can govern effectively.” Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Cuomo have known each other for decades, since the governor’s late father,

Mario Cuomo,

served as governor of New York from 1982 to 1994.

The governor’s allies, meanwhile, are making calls to shore up support among officials and other political figures in the state, people familiar with the effort said. Mr. Cuomo didn’t appear in public over the weekend.

Three former female aides to the governor and one woman who still works on his staff have accused Mr. Cuomo of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior. The third-term Democrat has denied he inappropriately touched anybody and apologized if any of his remarks or behavior made people uncomfortable.

People familiar with Mr. Cuomo’s thinking said he wasn’t planning to vacate his office even as New York’s U.S. senators—Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand—as well as 16 Democratic members of its delegation to the House of Representatives called for the governor’s resignation.

“He’s not leaving. He’s not resigning. Not today, not tomorrow, not next week,” said one person familiar with the governor’s thinking.

Appearing Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” New York City Mayor

Bill de Blasio

said Mr. Cuomo was used to getting his way and would continue to hold out. The Democratic mayor, who has frequently clashed with Mr. Cuomo, said the governor was “holding up our effort to fight Covid.”

A spokesman for the governor declined to comment on the comments from Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. de Blasio.

On Friday, Mr. Cuomo said calls for his resignation were politically motivated. He also asked that people reserve judgment until an investigation of the sexual harassment allegations, overseen by state Attorney General Letitia James, is completed.

Mrs. Pelosi said she had confidence in that review, and she didn’t say Mr. Cuomo should resign.

President Biden was asked Sunday as he returned to the White House from a weekend in Delaware if Mr. Cuomo should resign. “I think the investigation is under way, and we should see what it brings us,” Mr. Biden said.

Democrats who dominate the New York State Assembly said Thursday they would begin an impeachment investigation into the workplace behavior concerns as well as how the state handled data about Covid-19 deaths in nursing homes.

Federal prosecutors have requested data about nursing home deaths and are interested in the production of a July Health Department report about how Covid-19 affected those facilities, The Wall Street Journal has reported.

The governor’s advisers have said they are cooperating with the inquiry, and said their nursing home policies were consistent with federal regulations and were drafted to preserve hospital capacity.

Larry Schwartz, who oversees New York’s Covid-19 vaccination campaign, recently called several Democratic county executives to talk about the governor’s situation.



Photo:

John Lamparski/NurPhoto/Zuma Press

More than half the members of the 150-seat Assembly have said Mr. Cuomo should be impeached or resign from office.

However, he retains a core group of supporters. Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, a Democrat from Buffalo, said Saturday that Ms. James’s investigation should be allowed to play out.

“This is about when you’re accused of something you cannot be found guilty in the public arena. You have to be found guilty through a legal process,” she said.

The governor’s allies are pushing this line of argument, people familiar with the effort said.

Larry Schwartz, an executive at an airport concession company who was placed in charge of New York’s coronavirus vaccination campaign by Mr. Cuomo, called several Democratic county executives in the state last week to talk about the governor’s situation. Mr. Schwartz urged them not to call for the governor’s resignation, according to county executives who spoke with Mr. Schwartz.

Dutchess County Executive

Marc Molinaro,

a Republican who is president of the bipartisan County Executives Association, said some executives told him they felt the outreach was improper because Mr. Schwartz oversees how vaccine doses are allocated among counties.

“If that is a line that they attempt to blur, then it is beyond the pale and inexcusable,” said Mr. Molinaro, who is considering a bid for governor in 2022.

Westchester County Executive

George Latimer,

a Democrat, said he spoke with Mr. Schwartz about the governor but Mr. Schwartz didn’t bring up vaccine doses. Mr. Latimer said the call was short and amicable. He hasn’t called on Mr. Cuomo to resign.

In a statement, Mr. Schwartz said, “All decisions regarding vaccines are done based on public health considerations, not politics.” Beth Garvey, special counsel to Mr. Cuomo, said Mr. Schwartz—a former state and local government official—was devoted to serving the state.

Write to Jimmy Vielkind at Jimmy.Vielkind@wsj.com

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Source: WSJ – US News

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