Local, state leaders react to results of Cuomo investigation – Hochul, Schumer, Gillibrand, Ortt & more

State News

June 2, 2021 – NYC – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo provides a COVID-19 update and make an announcement at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. (Don Pollard/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — On Tuesday morning, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced the results of the investigation into Gov. Andrew Cuomo, concluding that he sexually harassed a number of women.

MORE | NY AG’s office says Gov. Cuomo sexually harassed several female employees

Here’s how some local and state leaders are reacting to the announcement:

New York State Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul

Sexual harassment is unacceptable in any workplace, and certainly not in public service. The Attorney General’s investigation has documented repulsive and unlawful behavior by the Governor towards multiple women. I believe these brave women and admire their courage coming forward.

No one is above the law. Under the New York Constitution, the Assembly will now determine the next steps.

Because Lieutenant Governors stand next in the line of succession, it would not be appropriate to comment further on the process at this moment.

New York State Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul

U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer

“No elected official is above the law. The people of New York deserve better leadership in the governor’s office. We continue to believe that the Governor should resign.”

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

“This report highlights​ unacceptable behavior by Governor Cuomo and his administration. As I said, when these disturbing allegations first came to light, the Governor must resign for the good of the state. Now that the investigation is complete and the allegations have been substantiated, it should be clear to everyone that he can no longer serve as Governor.  Our highest elected offices must reflect the values and integrity that​ they profess and​ New Yorkers hold dear. I thank the Attorney General and her investigators for their thorough investigation.​ I also wanted to give a special thank you to the courageous women who bravely stepped forward to shed light on this awful situation. We all owe them a debt of gratitude.”

Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt

“Today is a sad and sobering day for all New Yorkers.  The Attorney General’s findings confirm and reinforce the allegations brought by the brave women who came forward against a powerful figure — that Andrew Cuomo is a serial harasser, unfit to hold public office. In the wake of another devastating report, now more than ever Andrew Cuomo must resign. If he fails to do so, the legislature must immediately reconvene to take action to remove him.

New Yorkers have already been subjected to far too many lies, scandals and misdeeds perpetrated by this Governor and his associates. It is time to bring this sad, tawdry and corrupt chapter in New York’s history to a close, and to restore decency, honesty, and accountability to our state’s highest office. New York is facing profound challenges, ranging from a wave of violence in our streets, to a badly battered economy.  To effectively address these challenges, we need a change in leadership as quickly as possible. 

I must also commend the Attorney General and her team for refusing to be intimidated by this Governor. From the very beginning, Andrew Cuomo and his associates attempted to bully, undercut, and undermine the Attorney General — all as part of an effort to prevent her from doing her job.  From attempting to block the initial referral to the Attorney General’s office, to the intimidation of potential witnesses, to the blatant attempts to smear her integrity and motivations, this Governor left no stone unturned in his efforts to prevent the truth from being discovered.  

While this will undoubtedly go down as a dark day in New York’s history, we must now take steps to ensure that it will also be remembered as an important turning point that restores accountability and trustworthiness to state government.”

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz

“From the beginning, when accusations of sexual harassment against Governor Cuomo first surfaced, I called for an independent investigation to be conducted by the Attorney General’s Office and recommended waiting until the completion of that investigation before offering any comment on the merit of the claims.

The investigation into these accusations has concluded with a report, announced today by NYS Attorney General James, that not only confirmed many of the previous allegations but also identified others that had not been known and were corroborated by witnesses. Sexual harassment in any form can never be tolerated. Based on the thorough, detailed nature of the report and the corroborated findings of sexual harassment and a toxic work environment presented therein, Governor Cuomo must resign.”  

Buffalo mayor Byron Brown

“The NYS Attorney General’s report on allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct by Governor Cuomo is deeply troubling. Any act of harassment or intimidation – whether in the workplace or elsewhere – is unacceptable. The bravery of the women who came forward highlights the fact that sexual harassment continues to permeate the workplace and for many, diminishes the dignity, honor and joy of public service.

“For the good of our state, I urge Governor Cuomo to do the right thing and resign.”

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie

“We have received the Attorney General’s 168 page report containing findings of sexual harassment and misconduct committed by Governor Cuomo. The findings contained in the report are disturbing. The details provided by the victims are gut-wrenching. Our hearts go out to all the individuals who have had to endure this horrible experience. The conduct by the Governor outlined in this report would indicate someone who is not fit for office.

The report has been forwarded to the members of the Judiciary Committee as well as all members of the Assembly. We will now undertake an in-depth examination of the report and its corresponding exhibits with our Assembly counsels as well the legal firm we have retained to assist us.

We will have more to say in the very near future.”

Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay

“As Attorney General Letitia James’ office’s investigation has confirmed, Andrew Cuomo’s behavior is abhorrent and absolutely unacceptable. I called for Gov. Cuomo to resign in March, and it is clear now, based on the information presented to the attorney general’s office and corroborated by independent counsel, Andrew Cuomo is unfit to serve in his current capacity.

 It is in the best interest of the people of New York state for Gov. Cuomo to immediately resign and if he refuses to do so, the Legislature should take the necessary and immediate steps to have him impeached and forcibly removed from office.

The women who came forward and bravely shared their experiences must be acknowledged and commended. Only through their incredible courage have we been able to arrive at the truth.”

State Sen. Sean Ryan

“The report from the Attorney General’s office outlines a pattern of disturbing behavior, including serious impropriety by the Governor and attempts by his office to silence accusers. I commend the women in the report for coming forward to tell all of us about what they had to endure. The report makes clear that the Governor is not fit for the office he holds, and he should step down immediately and allow Lieutenant Governor Hochul to assume the powers of the Office of Governor. If he refuses to do so, it is incumbent upon the Assembly and Senate to remove him from office. I thank the Attorney General and the independent investigators for their deliberate work to uncover the truth.”

MORE | Timeline: Recent controversies surrounding Gov. Cuomo

State Comptroller Thomas P. Dinapoli

“This is a sad day for New York. The Attorney General’s report documents unacceptable workplace behavior in the Executive Chamber at the highest level of state leadership. The women who came forward are courageous, and they have been heard. As I stated months ago, the Governor should step down.”

Assemblymember Charles Lavine, who is leading the impeachment investigation

We are reviewing the Attorney General’s extensive report documenting sexual harassment and misconduct committed by Governor Cuomo. The findings are extraordinarily disturbing. The details provided by the victims are repugnant.

The report is being studied by the members of the Judiciary Committee and every member of the Assembly. We are engaged in an intensive analysis of the report and its exhibits with our Assembly counsels and with our independent counsel, Davis Polk & Wardwell.

This is a difficult day for the People of the State of New York.  I am deeply impressed with the professionalism and dedication of Attorney General James and counsel Joon Kim and Anne Clark.

State Sen. George Borrello

Today’s report by the New York State Attorney General is confirmation that Governor Cuomo is guilty of sexual harassment. The details in that report are even more disturbing than we could have imagined. The courageous young women who put their careers and reputations on the line in telling their stories are vindicated and have done an important service to our state and to women everywhere.

“Now that the Attorney General has conducted the due diligence that the Governor himself asked for, he needs to resign immediately. If he refuses, the Democrat-led majorities in the Senate and Assembly must demonstrate the leadership this moment demands and begin impeachment proceedings.”

Erie County Democratic Committee Chairman Jeremy Zellner

“From the beginning, I have insisted that we await the end of the official investigation into Gov. Cuomo’s actions and act on the basis of the facts.

Today, Attorney General James announced the end of that investigation and released those facts.

She and her staff outlined a clear and deeply disturbing pattern of unlawful and inexcusable behavior.

These findings transcend all political considerations. I was critical of Republicans when they ignored the truth in order to protect President Trump, and I will not hold myself to a different standard.

I believe it is time for Gov. Cuomo to put the people of New York and integrity of his office ahead of his own interests.

He should resign and allow the work of state government to move forward unburdened by the controversies that would inevitably follow him for the remainder of his term.

I join AG James in her praise and support for all those who came forward to share their experiences in  the service of justice and to speak truth to power.

And I thank our attorney general for her great leadership, integrity, and professionalism in this matter.”

Norman Green, chair of the Chautauqua County Democratic Committee

“Today’s concluding four month investigation and report from the office of NYS Attorney General Letitia James that finds Gov. Cuomo had violated New York State and Federal law leads me to demand that Gov. Cuomo resign today.  I look forward to working with Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul as our next governor.”

Assemblyman Angelo Morinello

“What we have surmised for months has unfortunately been confirmed. The findings in the attorney general’s report are deeply disturbing and troubling. They detail systemic abuse and misconduct in the Executive Chamber. That the governor has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing for months underscores a longtime pattern of dishonesty from this administration. 

No woman or man should ever feel unsafe or in fear for their mental or physical health at their place of work. I pray for the victims and I commend their unwavering bravery and pursuit of justice. The governor must step down immediately. It is impossible for him to focus on running the state while trying to protect and repair his reputation. If he won’t, the Assembly must push forward with impeachment and remove him ourselves.”

Rep. Lee Zeldin

“Andrew Cuomo must resign or be impeached. Cuomo institutionalized widespread abuse within his administration and tried to silence his many victims, which enabled him to continue openly preying on those around him. Over the last few months, Cuomo has continued his attempts to undermine the investigations into his wrongdoing and those carrying them out, and I have no doubt he will continue to do so following the release of the report.

It’s up to all of us to hold him accountable. Governor Cuomo must resign, and if he doesn’t resign, Democrats running the State Legislature in Albany must impeach him. If they don’t impeach him, we must hold Governor Cuomo and every single person who has enabled him accountable at the ballot box on Election Day 2022. Whether it’s the deadly nursing home order and coverup, his absurd $5.1 million self-congratulatory book deal, or rampant sexual harassment, abuse, and intimidation, New York needs new leadership to restore our state to glory, rather than govern scandal to scandal. New Yorkers need a Governor who will put their priorities first, not prioritize self-preservation in the face of endless misconduct. This is a crisis of leadership, and it’s up to every New Yorker to hold Cuomo accountable and save our state.”

New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta

“The attorney general has detailed conduct that is repugnant and indefensible in any workplace and especially in the state’s highest elected office. Equally troubling was the governor’s response to the report. Sadly, both show he is unfit to serve in office.”

Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi

“Under Attorney General Letitia James, a comprehensive and independent investigation into the allegations against Governor Cuomo has been completed.

“As always, I commend the women who came forward to speak their truth.

“Recognizing his love of New York and the respect for the office he holds, I call upon the Governor to resign.” 

Speaker of New York State Assembly Carl Heastie

After our conference this afternoon to discuss the Attorney General’s report concerning sexual harassment allegations against Governor Cuomo, it is abundantly clear to me that the Governor has lost the confidence of the Assembly Democratic majority and that he can no longer remain in office.

Once we receive all relevant documents and evidence from the Attorney General, we will move expeditiously and look to conclude our impeachment investigation as quickly as possible.

Hon. Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes, Majority Leader, NYS Assembly – 141st District

“Upon reading the Attorney General’s extensive investigative report, its findings are alarming and disturbing. I commend women for having the strength and courage to come forward after what they have endured.”

Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes continued, “I think that the Governor’s ability to govern has been severely limited and irreparably damaged. We must let the legal process play out and as Majority Leader, I have the utmost confidence in the abilities and capacities of my Assembly colleagues now handling the impeachment inquiry.  We will add the Attorney General’s report to the Assembly Judiciary Committee’s findings, and review everything in order to craft the most comprehensive impeachment findings. The Assembly stands ready and able to perform their constitutional duties.”

Chautauqua County Executive Paul M. Wendel Jr.

Yesterday’s report by New York State Attorney General Letitia James alleged that Governor Andrew Cuomo is guilty of committing acts of sexual harassment, violating both Federal and State law. This is the latest in a long line of disqualifying behavior committed by our Governor. I support the brave women who stood up to the Governor, risking their careers and reputations, in order to make their stories heard in the pursuit of justice. These women have done our State, and women across America a great service.”

“I have faith in the Attorney General’s report that the Governor himself endorsed. Now that the findings have been made public, and the Governor has lost the trust of the people of New York, I believe the Governor should immediately resign. If he does not, I call upon the Democrat-controlled State Assembly to immediately begin impeachment proceedings, this is a necessity to restore faith in the Office of the Governor of New York, and ensure that no one is above the law.”

MORE | Read the report: NY AG’s findings on Cuomo sexual harassment

Cuomo Under Fire

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