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Top NYS Democrats withdraw support for Cuomo, who says he won't resign

New York Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie withdrew their support for the governor, who says he will not 'play politics.'

ALBANY, N.Y. — As some legislators call for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign due to recent allegations made against him, the governor said Sunday in a conference call with reporters that he has no plans of doing so.

The governor says he was elected by the people of New York State, not the politicians, adding that he's not going to "resign because of allegations."

Cuomo says he's not going to "play politics" with those who are calling for his resignation, saying he's going to do his job and wait for the facts from the attorney general.

"The politicians want to play politics. That's what they do. But I'm not going to be distracted, because there's too much to do for the people," Cuomo said.

Democrat Andrea Stewart-Cousins of Yonkers, the New York Senate leader, has joined a growing number of lawmakers asking Cuomo to resign.

"Everyday there is another account that is drawing away from the business of government," she said in a statement. "We have allegations about sexual harassment, a toxic work environment, the loss of credibility surrounding the Covid-19 nursing home data, and questions about the construction of a major infrastructure project.

"New York is still in the midst of this pandemic and is still facing the societal, health and economic impacts of it. We need to govern without daily distraction. For the good of the state Governor Cuomo must resign."

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie shared a similar view in a statement, though he did not specifically call for Cuomo to resign.

"The allegations pertaining to the governor that have been reported in recent weeks have been deeply disturbing, and have no place whatsoever in government, the workplace, or anywhere else," he said. "I too share the sentiment of Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins regarding the governor's ability to continue to lead this state.

"We have many challenges to address, and I think it is time for the governor to seriously consider whether he can effectively meet the needs of the people of New York."

Cuomo said during the conference call that anyone can make an allegation, adding that there is a process to uphold. The governor stressed that the New York State attorney general needs to investigate these allegations, repeating once more that he supports the investigation.

"Let the attorney general do her job, and she's very competent to do that," Cuomo said. He added that the public will then "have the facts."

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer echoed that sentiment, telling NBC that an investigation by Letitia James is warranted.

"The allegations of each of the women have to be taken seriously," he said. "Women have to be listened to. I've long said that sexual harassment is never acceptable can never be tolerated. Now the investigation of these women's allegations as I said they are serious, they're being investigated in the very capable hands of the NYS attorney general.

"I called for that type of independent investigation and I have a lot of faith in her. I believe that she will turn over every stone and I believe that she will make sure there is no interference political or otherwise."

The governor later addressed the accusations against him, saying he never meant to make anyone feel uncomfortable.

Cuomo did not take a question from WGRZ during the conference call. However, he did take a question from Anne Thompson from NBC News.

Thompson asked, "Are you saying that the women who are accusing you of sexual harassment are lying?"

The governor responded, "No. I said I encourage every woman to come forward. I then said the attorney general should do, is doing, an investigation."

Cuomo added that he's not going to get "distracted by this," saying he still has to do his job in the meantime. Cuomo stressed that the state needs to finish the budget, vaccinate New Yorkers and tackle other pressing matters, saying "there's a lot of work to be done" for the state. 

In addition, Governor Cuomo says he will sign the legislature's emergency powers bill on Sunday.