Politicians' reactions to Attorney General Letitia James' bombshell report on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's harassment of women were harsh – and unanimous that Cuomo should resign.
"The conduct by the Governor outlined in this report would indicate someone who is not fit for office," Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a New York City Democrat, said in a prepared statement.
"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," Heastie said.
After the Assembly Democrats conferred Tuesday afternoon, Heastie issued another statement: "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."
“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," Sens. Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand said in a joint statement.
“The New York State Attorney General has conducted an independent, thorough and professional investigation that found the Governor violated state and federal law, had a pattern of sexually harassing current and former employees, retaliated against at least one of the accusers, and created a hostile work environment. 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," the senators' statement said.
State Senate Minority Leader Robert G. Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, complimented James for "refusing to be intimidated" by Cuomo.
"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," Ortt said.
“I think that the Governor’s ability to govern has been severely limited and irreparably damaged," Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes said in a statement. "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.”
"In March we said it was time for the Governor to resign," Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, said on Twitter. "The disturbing nature of @NewYorkStateAG's findings solidifies the inevitable conclusion that the Governor must step aside now."
"Sexual harassment in any form can never be tolerated," Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz, a Democrat, said on Twitter. "Based on the thorough nature of the AG's report and the corroborated findings of sexual harassment and a toxic work environment presented therein, Governor Cuomo must resign."
"Andrew Cuomo has irreparably disgraced his office, broken numerous laws, and intimidated at least one brave employee who came forward and reported his consistent abuse," said Rep. Chris Jacobs, R-Orchard Park. "He cannot serve as Governor of New York any longer. He must resign immediately and face justice for his crimes.”
"The NYS Attorney General's report on allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct by Governor Cuomo is deeply troubling," said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, adding, "For the good of our state, I urge Governor Cuomo to do the right thing and resign."
"If it wasn't before, it is now crystal clear that Gov. Cuomo must resign," said India Walton, the Democratic nominee for mayor of Buffalo, on Twitter. "We stand with the women who have endured the mistreatment detailed in the AG's report."
"These findings transcend all political considerations," Erie County Democratic Party Chairman Jeremy Zellner said.
"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," Zellner said. "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."
“Sadly, this pattern of sexual harassment and abuse is only one chapter in the Cuomo book of corruption, law-breaking and sociopathic behavior," said Nick Langworthy, state Republican Party chairman and former Erie County GOP chief.
"Countless lives have been destroyed by his actions throughout his tenure, but now is the moment where he must finally be held accountable," Langworthy said. “I called for Governor Cuomo’s impeachment on February 11th, and I renew that call today. If he does not immediately resign, Speaker Carl Heastie must call for a special session to bring articles of impeachment to the floor for an up or down vote. Democrats in Albany have been protecting him for too long – time is up."
"Gov. Cuomo must be arrested now," said Rep. Elise Stefanik, a Republican and member of House GOP leadership whose district covers much of Northern New York.
"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," said Assemblyman Angelo J. Morinello, R-Niagara Falls.
"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," Morinello said. "If he won’t, the Assembly must push forward with impeachment and remove him ourselves.”
James' report was "deeply disturbing," said State Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan, R-Elma.
"The findings of her four-month investigation indicate the governor not only broke multiple laws and fostered a hostile work environment; he violated his oath of office and is no longer fit to govern effectively. His only appropriate course of action is to resign," Gallivan said. "If he does not, the Legislature should use this report as its basis to immediately commence impeachment proceedings as outlined in the State Constitution.”
"The details in that report are even more disturbing than we could have imagined," said State Sen. George M. Borrello of Chautauqua County.
"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," Borrello, a Republican, said.
If Cuomo doesn't quit, he should be impeached, Borrello said.
Assemblyman Pat Burke, D-Buffalo, reminded the public Tuesday he was the first local Democratic official to call for Cuomo to resign when the allegations initially emerged this past spring.
"Today's report reinforces those feelings," Burke said in a statement. "The governor should step down immediately, or the legislation should take action. The governor's leadership through the pandemic does not excuse his behavior here. It's unfortunate that it has come to this."
Assemblyman Bill Conrad, D-Town of Tonawanda, praised the attorney general for her conduct of the investigation, which he said revealed "frankly repugnant" findings.
"The Governor is unfit for office," Conrad said in a statement. "If he won’t immediately resign, the Assembly must take the next logical steps, toward his impeachment."
"This is a sad day for New York," State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said. "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."
"The pervasive culture of fear and sexual abuse in this administration is well known and now publicly exposed," said Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, a Republican who lost to Cuomo in the 2018 election.
"If not for the bravery of the eleven women who came forward, Andrew Cuomo’s reign of terror would have continued to be ignored and covered up," Molinaro said. "The grotesque violations outlined in this report are just the tip of the iceberg for an administration that routinely ignores the rule of law. He was and is unfit to serve, must resign, and be brought to justice.”
“Governor Andrew Cuomo is a sexual predator and he needs to resign today," said Gerard Kassar, chairman of the state Conservative Party. "Anything but his resignation is unacceptable to the people of New York State.”