New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo received backlash on Friday after he said he is ‘not part of the political club’ when refusing to resign following a slew of sexual harassment claims.
Cuomo, whose father Mario Cuomo served three terms as governor, tried to distance himself from politics while addressing calls for his resignation from politicians amid allegations he sexually harassed or behaved inappropriately toward seven women.
‘I was not elected by the politicians, I was elected by the people,’ Cuomo said. ‘Part of this is that I am not part of the political club. And you know what? I’m proud of it.’
New York Attorney General Elect Andrew Cuomo, left, joins hands with his father former New York Governor Mario Cuomo in 2006
In 1990, Cuomo married Kerry Kennedy, the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy whom he divorced in 2005
Cuomo married Kerry Kennedy were married for 15 years and have three daughters together
His comments have since sparked ridicule online with critics pointing out his deep ties to politics and lengthy political career.
‘I, a card carrying member of Sam’s Club, am proud to say that I am not a member of Sam’s Club,’ Washington Post columnist David Moscrop tweeted.
Cuomo, who earned a law degree from Albany Law School in 1982, started his political career in his mid-20s while working as campaign manager on his father’s 1982 campaign for governor.
‘Says the man who has been a governor for 11 years, was state AG before that, was married to a Kennedy and is the son of Mario Cuomo,’ CBS News reporter Grace Segers tweeted.
After his father was elected to his first term, Cuomo worked as one of his policy advisors before landing a job in 1984 as a New York assistant district attorney.
‘Literally there’s a bridge named after his father, who was also the governor of ny, but sure,’ Twitter user @_laurenenen noted, referring to the Mario M. Cuomo bridge he had named after his father when the Tappan Zee Bridge was replaced.
In 1990, Cuomo married Kerry Kennedy, the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy and niece of former President John F. Kennedy. They were married for 15 years and have three daughters together.
Critics took to Twitter to point out Cuomo’s familial and professional ties to politics after his comments
‘HIS FATHER WAS A GOVERNOR AND HE MARRIED A KENNEDY IN THE GREATEST DYNASTY MERGER SINCE JULIE NIXON MARRIED DAVID EISENHOWER,’ @constans tweeted.
From 1990 to 1993, Cuomo served as chair of the New York City Homeless Commission during New York City mayor David Dinkins’ administration.
In 1993, Cuomo was appointed as an assistant secretary for the Department of Housing and Urban Development in President Bill Clinton’s administration.
He served as HUD Secretary from January 1997 until January 20, 2001 when George. W. Bush became president.
In 2002, Cuomo made his first attempt at running for governor in an attempt to unseat former Republican Governor George Pataki, who unseated his father, but was not elected.
In 2006, Cuomo was elected Attorney General of New York and served in the role until he was elected governor in 2010.
Cuomo became Governor of New York in 2011 and has held onto the role since then, now also serving as chair of the National Governors Association.
Another Twitter user noted: ‘He’s literally chair of the national governor’s association.’
New York Governor Mario Cuomo makes a victory speech after winning re-election, at the Sheraton Centre in Manhattan, New York on November 4, 1986. Andrew Cuomo is pictured top right
Andrew Cuomo, right, announces his candidacy for Governor of New York in 2002 – his first attempt at the office in which he was not elected
Cuomo, left, is trailed by his father former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, right, during a 2002 campaign stop in Brooklyn while running to unseat Republican Governor George Pataki who unseated his father
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand have demanded Cuomo resign – becoming the most powerful Democratic voices to call for him to leave office in the wake of sexual harassment allegations.
Schumer and Gillibrand, who serve as New York’s two sitting senators, released a joint statement Friday afternoon.
‘Confronting and overcoming the COVID crisis requires sure and steady leadership. We commend the brave actions of the individuals who have come forward with serious allegations of abuse and misconduct,’ the statement reads.
‘Due to the multiple, credible sexual harassment and misconduct allegations, it is clear that Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of his governing partners and the people of New York. Governor Cuomo should resign.’
MEMBERS OF THE NY CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT CALLING FOR CUOMO’S RESIGNATION
Issuing statements Friday:
- Rep. Jerry Nadler
- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
- Rep. Jamaal Bowman
- Rep. Mondaire Jones
- Rep. Yvette Clarke
- Rep. Adriano Espaillat
- Rep. Carolyn Maloney
- Rep. Grace Meng
- Rep. Nydia M. Velázques
- Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney
- Rep. Antonio Delgado
- Rep. Brian Higgins
- Rep. Paul Tonko
Issued statement last week:
14. Rep. Kathleen Rice
Both had previously said an independent investigation into the allegations against Cuomo was essential.
Shortly after the Senators’ joint statement was released, House Intelligence Chairman and California Rep. Adam Schiff also urged Cuomo to resign.
‘I don’t think he can carry on,’ Schiff told Wolf Blitzer on CNN.
Meanwhile, New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapooli tweeted: ‘These allegations are extremely disturbing and are impairing Governor Cuomo’s ability to lead, as our state struggles through a crisis and must make critical budget decisions. It is time for him to step down.’
Earlier on Friday, New York representatives Jerry Nadler and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined 12 of the 17 other New York Congressional Democrats also demanding that the Governor step aside.
Pressure is growing on Cuomo as a seventh woman alleged sexual harassment in a first-person essay published in New York magazine on Friday.
Additionally, 30 women spoke to the same publication claiming they experienced bullying while working for the Governor.
But a defiant Cuomo told reporters in a conference call Friday that he will not bow to ‘cancel culture’ by tending his resignation. He then hit out at colleagues who are calling for him to go.
‘Politicians take positions for all sorts of reasons including political expediency and bowing to pressure,’ he stated.
On Friday evening, Cuomo was seen looking strained as he paced up and down outside the Governor’s Mansion in Albany with his daughter, Mariah.
At one point, the Governor draped a blanket over his shoulders as he spoke into the phone while sipping from a bottle of Saratoga Springs water.
Cuomo is pictured outside the Governor’s Mansion in Albany with his daughter on Friday
The Governor draped a blanket around his shoulders and appeared to be in a downcast mood as he was spotted outside his residence
In the same conference call with the reporters on Friday, Cuomo stated: ‘Women have a right to come forward and be heard and I encourage that but I also want to be clear – there is still a question of the truth.
‘I did not do what has been alleged. Period. I won’t speculate about people’s possible motives, but I can tell you as a former Attorney General, who’s gone through this situation many times, there are often many motivations for making an allegation.
‘That is why you need to know the facts before you make a decision.’
What happens if Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigns from office?
If Cuomo resigns Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul (pictured) would take over
As of Friday afternoon, 14 out of 19 of New York’s congressional Democrats have called for Governor Andrew Cuomo’s resignation.
They are joined by all Democrats in the NY State Senate and by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Cuomo on Friday refused to accept that he should resign despite the mounting pressure.
If he resigns Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul would take over.
She would finish Cuomo’s term until the next scheduled gubernatorial election in 2022.
Hochul is a Democrat who has served since 2015 and was a NY representative for New York’s 26th congressional district from 2011 to 2013.
She backed an investigation into allegations against Cuomo last month.
‘Everyone deserves to have their voice heard and to be taken seriously. I support an independent review,’ she said.
The last time a governor resigned was in early 2008.
Gov. Eliot Spitzer left office after he admitted to having extramarital affairs with sex workers.
When Spitzer stepped down, Lieutenant Governor David Paterson took over until 2010.
Cuomo, then Attorney General, won that election to take over from Paterson.
To date, a lieutenant governor has stepped in to carry out a gubernatorial term in New York on eight occassions, the first one taking place in 1817.
LG Hochul would also take over if Cuomo is impeached.
New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie authorized its Judiciary Committee to start an impeachment investigation into Cuomo Thursday.
The last time a NY governor was impeached was in 1913.
The process in New York is very similar to the impeachment procedure in Congress.
A simple majority in the state Assembly is required to impeach a governor.
It then goes to the state impeachment court.
A two-thirds majority of the state Senate and the justices of the New York Court of Appeals would be required to convict Cuomo and remove him from office.
The lieutenant governor takes over as acting governor while the trial plays out.