MANHATTAN (CN) — The nearly five-months-long investigation into New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ended Tuesday with New York's attorney general finding that several women in his administration suffered unwanted sexual harassment.
In addition to finding that Cuomo, 63, "did sexually harass multiple women — including former and current state employees — by engaging in unwanted groping, kissing, and hugging, and making inappropriate comments," the investigators found evidence of retaliatory efforts taken by the governor and his senior staff against at least one of the women who came forward.
Cuomo made no indication of voluntarily resigning in the wake of the report, and instead offered several challenges to aspects of the report’s findings at a separate press conference Tuesday in Albany. “The facts are much different than have been portrayed,” he said during the 14-minute briefing.
“Politics and bias are interwoven throughout every aspect of this situation,” Cuomo said. “One would be naïve to think otherwise, and New Yorkers are not naïve.
“I called for an independent review, and I said at the beginning I said I would let the process unfold,” Cuomo said this afternoon. “I didn’t want anyone to say that I interfered. I said I would hold my tongue and I have, making only limited comments.”
For many others, however, including fellow Democrats, statements are piling up that say it is finally time for the state to remove the recalcitrant Cuomo.
“It is beyond clear that Andrew Cuomo is not fit to hold office and can no longer serve as governor," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said this afternoon. "He must resign, and if he continues to resist and attack the investigators who did their jobs, he should be impeached immediately.”
President Joe Biden echoed the call for Cuomo to step down but disclosed that he has not yet read the attorney general’s report in full.
“Yes. He should resign,” Biden said during a press conference at the White House, hours after the bombshell report was released.
The president had said in March during an ABC News interview that, if allegations of sexual harassment against Cuomo turned out to be true, the governor would “probably end up being prosecuted, too.”
Biden didn’t go quite as far Tuesday when pressed about those March comments. “What I said is if the attorney general concluded allegations are correct in March, that I would recommend he resign. That’s what I’m doing today,” Biden said.
The president also would not speculate on whether the governor should be ousted through impeachment.
"I understand the state legislature may decide to impeach," Biden continued, "but I do not know that for a fact."
Cuomo acceded to the investigation by state Attorney General Letitia James in early March after a second former employee of his administration went public with claims that the governor had harassed her.
Charlotte Bennett, a low-level aide in the governor's administration until November 2020, told The New York Times that Cuomo asked her inappropriate questions about her sex life, including whether she ever had sex with older men.
Her accusation came days after another former aide, Lindsey Boylan, a former deputy secretary for economic development and special adviser to the governor, elaborated on harassment allegations she first made in December. Boylan said Cuomo subjected her to an unwanted kiss and inappropriate comments.
Responding Tuesday to broader allegations of inappropriate touching, Cuomo reprised a defense he asserted earlier in the scandal.
“I have been making the same gesture in public all my life. I actually learned it from my mother and my father,” said Cuomo, who leans on his Italian-American heritage. “I do kiss people on the forehead, I do kiss people on the cheek, I do kiss people on the hand. I do embrace people.”