Win McNamee/Getty; Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Joe Biden (left), Andrew Cuomo
President Joe Biden didn't mince words when asked whether he felt Gov. Andrew Cuomo should resign in light of the New York Attorney General's report that found Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women. "He should resign," Biden told reporters at the White House Tuesday.
Biden, 78, made the remark just hours after New York Attorney General Letitia James announced that an independent investigation into harassment allegations against the governor had concluded, with the investigators finding that Cuomo "sexually harassed multiple women" and, in doing so, "violated federal and state law."
Asked whether Cuomo, 63, should be removed from office by state lawmakers if he does not resign, Biden said, "I understand the state legislature may decide to impeach. I do not know that for a fact."
Following Biden's remarks, New York State House Speaker Carl Heastie indicated that state Democrats were prepared to impeach the governor if he did not step down, saying the chamber would "move expeditiously and look to conclude our impeachment investigation as quickly as possible."
According to the New York Attorney General's office, the investigation into Cuomo began in December 2020, and included interviews with 179 individuals.
In a press conference Tuesday, James said the investigation found that Cuomo engaged in "unwanted groping, kisses, hugging, and making inappropriate comments" with both current and former New York state employees.
James said that the actions "created a hostile work environment for women," and that the governor and his senior staff took actions to retaliate against at least one former employee who came forward with her story.
The attorney general added that the release of the report concludes her investigation, and that her office would not file any criminal charges or pursue civil legal action.
Still, Cuomo faces other investigations due to the sexual harassment claims. One of the allegations — made by an aide who said the governor groped her while inside the executive mansion — has been referred to Albany police and is being criminally investigated, the district attorney said Tuesday.
In a press briefing earlier Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki called the allegations "abhorrent," adding that the accusers "deserve to have their voices heard."
Other top Democrats also called on Cuomo to resign, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issuing a statement that said: "Recognizing his love of New York and the respect for the office he holds, I call upon the Governor to resign."
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Kristen Gillibrand — both Democrats from New York — issued their own joint statement, which read in part: "Today's report from the New York State Attorney General substantiated and corroborated the allegations of the brave women who came forward to share their stories — and we commend the women for doing so."
Schumer and Gillibrand's statement continued: "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."
A group of governors of neighboring states also called on Cuomo to resign.
"We are appalled at the findings of the independent investigation by the New York Attorney General. Governor Cuomo should resign from office," Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont and Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee — all Democrats — said in a joint statement.
Cuomo, who has previously said he will not resign, denied the allegations in a recorded message published Tuesday.
"I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances," Cuomo said in the video. "I am 63 years old. I have lived my entire adult life in public view. That is just not who I am, and that's not who I have ever been."
He continued in the recorded statement: "My job is not about me, my job is about you. What matters to me at the end of the day is getting the most done I can for you. I will not be distracted from that job."