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Liberal, socialist leaders call for Cuomo's removal over harassment claims

Governor Andrew Cuomo holds a press briefing in

Governor Andrew Cuomo holds a press briefing in Albany on March 3. Credit: Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

ALBANY — Young Democrats and socialist legislators on Tuesday called on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to resign or be removed from office amid accusations that he sexually harassed two former women staffers, while two Democratic leaders slammed Republicans for also calling for Cuomo's removal.

The New York State Young Democrats said the three-term Democratic governor must resign immediately "in light of this demonstrated pattern of behavior." The group is the official youth arm of the state Democratic Committee.

The liberal Working Families Party, which once supported Cuomo but has become a progressive critic, also called for Cuomo’s resignation. "Andrew Cuomo’s reign of fear, harassment, and intimidation cannot continue," said Sochie Nnaemeka, the minor party’s state director.

In addition, six Democratic state legislators who identify themselves as socialists called for Cuomo’s impeachment for "predatory behavior." The six are State Sens. Julia Salazar and Jabari Brisport of Brooklyn, and Assembly members Emily Gallagher of Brooklyn, Phara Souffrant Forrest of Brooklyn, Zohran Mamdani of Queens and Marcela Mitaynes of Brooklyn.

Two former staffers and a third woman who met Cuomo at a wedding reception have accused him of making unwanted advances. Cuomo has said he never inappropriately touched or propositioned anyone, but had teased people about their personal lives in an attempt to be "playful." A special prosecutor overseen by the state attorney general will investigate.

Republican legislative and political leaders have for days called for Cuomo to leave or be removed from office. Senate Republican leader Robert Ortt said: "This is what is the right thing for New Yorkers" during a pandemic and fiscal crisis. "This is not a political decision."

On Tuesday, two of Cuomo’s closest allies struck back.

"Assembly Republicans are working overtime to stall efforts to help our communities by playing politics during a time when New Yorkers can least afford it," said Michael Whyland, spokesman for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. "These are the same do-nothing politicians who just a few weeks ago sat idly by while Donald Trump worked to undermine our democracy and destroy our institutions."

State Democratic Committee chairman Jay Jacobs of Nassau County, who was appointed by Cuomo, also lashed out at Republicans.

"While they may have just now discovered their moral compass, Republican leaders have absolutely no standing whatsoever to share their opinion on the current matter," Jacobs stated, referencing sexual harassment claims against Trump. "I urge all Democrats to unite in our determination to allow the attorney general’s investigation to do the work we have called for, and then to do what is right, whatever the outcome."

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