Biden, Pelosi stop short of calling on Cuomo to resign, defer to investigation
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Sunday that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo should seriously consider whether he can continue to govern effectively as he faces multiple sexual harassment allegations.
However, Pelosi stopped short of outright saying Cuomo, a Democrat, should resign, as many other Democrats - including both of New York's U.S. senators - have done.
"The governor should look inside his heart - he loves New York - to see if he can govern effectively. And that could be one of the considerations that he has," Pelosi said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday.
Pelosi reiterated her initial statement from two weeks ago that there should be an independent investigation into the "credible and serious" charges against Cuomo, and voiced confidence in New York Attorney General Letitia James, who is leading an investigation into the claims.
"She has called for, I think, an expeditious investigation. And again, with all the respect in the world for what these women have come forth and said," Pelosi said Sunday. "This is a subject very near and dear to my heart. There is no tolerance for sexual harassment."
When asked Sunday evening whether Cuomo should resign, President Joe Biden also deferred to James's investigation.
"The investigation is underway, and we should see what it brings us," Biden said as he arrived back at the White House after a weekend in Delaware. It was the first time the president commented directly on the matter since a recent wave of top Democrats called on Cuomo to resign.
Late Friday afternoon, New York Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand called on Cuomo to resign, becoming the latest and most powerful of the state's Democrats to join the growing chorus of politicians who have publicly said Cuomo should step down.
In addition to the sexual harassment allegations, several former aides to Cuomo said he created a hostile and toxic work environment for decades with his bullying behavior. Cuomo's administration has also been accused of covering up the scale of nursing-home deaths in the coronavirus pandemic.
"Confronting and overcoming the COVID crisis requires sure and steady leadership," the Senate majority leader and Gillibrand said in a joint statement Friday. "We commend the brave actions of the individuals who have come forward with serious allegations of abuse and misconduct."
The statement continued: "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."
Schumer and Gillibrand had previously said they were concerned by the accusations against the governor but had stopped short of calling for his resignation.
Cuomo has been defiant and said he will not resign, suggesting that the accusations against him could be politically motivated and driven by "cancel culture."
"People know the difference between playing politics, bowing to cancel culture and the truth. Let the review proceed," Cuomo told reporters Friday afternoon. "I am not going to resign."
On Friday evening, a photographer captured Cuomo outside the governor's mansion in Albany, talking on the phone while draped in a blanket.
Fallout over Cuomo's multiple scandals has only continued to widen, however.
A majority of the New York congressional delegation has now called for Cuomo's resignation, and the New York State Assembly authorized an investigation into the allegations against the governor last week, the first step toward possible impeachment.
Larry Schwartz, New York's "vaccine czar" and a Cuomo ally, has been calling New York county officials to try to gauge their support for the governor - making one county official so uncomfortable that the executive filed an ethics complaint, The Washington Post's Amy Brittain and Josh Dawsey reported.
Cuomo was a constant topic on Sunday's political shows. Republican Govs. Larry Hogan of Maryland and Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas both said they thought Cuomo faced serious allegations but did not call on him to resign, saying it was best left to the people of New York and Democrats to handle.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat who has clashed frequently with Cuomo, predicted the governor would try to hold out as long as possible but eventually be impeached.
"I think he is used to getting things his way. And it's been almost an imperial governorship," de Blasio said on CBS's "Face the Nation."
"But I got to tell you, the folks in the state and the political leadership don't believe him anymore," de Blasio said. "He doesn't have any credibility."
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The Washington Post's Sean Sullivan contributed to this report.