Update (1215ET): All 20 Republican NY State Senators have joined with their colleagues to call on Gov. Cuomo to resign. By one reporter's count, 40 of the 63 NY state senators are now pushing for the governor to resign.
All 20 NYS Senate Republicans are now calling for @NYGovCuomo to resign.— Morgan Mckay (@morganfmckay) March 11, 2021
All together including Senate Democrats I believe (by my count) 40 out of 63 total NYS Senators support resignation pic.twitter.com/zhyPX93JjQ
The question remains: Will the overwhelming support for the governor's resignation be enough to push Dems to back impeachment?
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Dems in the NY state legislature voted last week to strip embattled Gov. Andrew Cuomo of the emergency powers granted to him during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. Then a few days later, two of the state's most powerful legislative leaders (both Democrats) called on the governor to resign "for the good of the state".
Well, apparently the latest allegations published by the Albany Times-Union last night have inspired dozens more Democrats to follow suit. As Cuomo denies "aggressively groping" a much-younger female staffer whose name hasn't been published, 59 Democrats from the State Assembly and New York Senate have called on the governor to resign via a letter.
The governor, who is halfway through his third term, has been accused of sexual harassment ranging from lewd comments, unsolicited kisses and under-the-blouse groping. Although the governor has denied this last claim, insisting earlier this week that he never touched any woman inappropriately.
The letter cites both the sexual harassment scandal and a cover-up purportedly perpetrated by Cuomo's office to underreport the number of nursing home patients who succumbed to COVID during the early days of the outbreak in the state, when a state policy required hospitals to send infected elderly long-term-care-home patients back to their facilities, where infections spread like wildfire, potentially causing thousands of preventable deaths.
And it's not just the legislators who are calling for Cuomo's resignation. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has a famously antagonistic relationship with the governor, told reporters during his Thursday press briefing that it's time for the governor to go. De Blasio cited the latest report about Cuomo's "aggressive groping" as the rational for why he believes the governor should resign.
"He can no longer serve as governor," de Blasio said. "The latest report...[t]hat the governor called an employee in of his, someone who he had power over, called them to a private place and then sexually assaulted her, is absolutely unacceptable. It is disgusting to me."
Earlier, the two leaders got into another COVID-related scuffle when Cuomo claimed Thursday that NY's mandatory travel quarantine would be lifted on April 1, a decision that Mayor de Blasio claims he wasn't even consulted about.
Circling back to the letter mentioned above, more than 40 signatories are members of the State Assembly, where Republican lawmakers have already drafted an impeachment resolution. As one NY capitol reporter pointed out, critics of the governor may now have enough votes to impeach him if Republicans and Democrats in the Assembly join forces. While that might not be politically palatable, the intense public reaction to the governor's scandal might be enough to change things.
1/3) NEW: A combined 59 members of @NYSenDems and @NYSA_Majority are now calling on @NYGovCuomo to resign, saying in a new letter “he has lost the confidence of the public and the state legislature.” With 40 signatories in the Assembly, that number now surpasses a... pic.twitter.com/6HoGxZUHF9— Zack Fink (@ZackFinkNews) March 11, 2021
2/3) significant threshold. Assuming Cuomo refuses to resign, and these lawmakers are ready to take the next step with impeachment, they would now have more than the 76 votes needed to impeach, if you include all 43 Republicans votes. Unlikely @CarlHeastie would want to rely...— Zack Fink (@ZackFinkNews) March 11, 2021
3/3) on any Republican votes for such a significant action, but the public at large might feel differently.— Zack Fink (@ZackFinkNews) March 11, 2021
Cuomo has repeatedly said he has no plans to resign, and that he will allow an inquiry being overseen by AG Letitia James to play out. James earlier this week appointed two attorneys (including one former federal prosecutor) to lead the probe - which doesn't carry the threat of criminal penalties.