If the growing allegations of sexual harassment being made against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo prove to be true, then he “should not continue” serving as the state’s leader, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday, while still stopping just short of a full demand that he step down.
“We have zero tolerance for the behavior alleged against the governor,” Pelosi said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” when asked if she believes, like Senate Majority Chuck Schumer, D-NY and fellow Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, and several other prominent Democrats including the party’s entire House Democrat contingent from New York, that Cuomo should step down.
“I think he is a supporter of zero tolerance in terms of sexual harassment,” added Pelosi. “It would follow if you have zero tolerance, that would be a decision that we hope the governor would make.”
Earlier this week, Pelosi said in an interview that Cuomo “should look inside his heart — he loves New York — to see if he can govern effectively.”
Cuomo, at 63, is fighting for what had once been considered a bright political career, including talk last year that he could be named as the Democrats’ nominee to challenge President Donald Trump.
After several women accused Cuomo of sexual harassment and he is also facing a scandal and investigation concerning COVID-19 deaths in his state’s nursing homes, Cuomo is rejecting calls from both sides of the aisle to quit.
The governor has denied touching any women inappropriately after several women, including former staffers from his office, said he sexually harassed them or behaved inappropriately. He has asked New Yorkers to await the results of an investigation headed by state Attorney General Letitia James.
“Today on the floor of the House, although we’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, we’re having the Violence Against Women Act on the floor and the Equal Rights Amendment,” Pelosi said Wednesday on MSNBC. “People have to unlearn some bad behavior in order to learn how we should go forward. Again, if these allegations are proven to be true, then zero tolerance would follow, that the governor should not continue.”
Pelosi’s comments echoed those of President Joe Biden, who has taken a wait-and-see position when it comes to Cuomo.
Biden said in an interview with ABC News airing Wednesday that Cuomo should resign if the state attorney general’s investigation confirms the sexual harassment allegations against him.
“I think he’d probably end up being prosecuted, too,” said Biden. “It takes a lot of courage to come forward so the presumption is it should be taken seriously. And it should be investigated, and that’s what’s underway now.”
Just last week, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki wouldn’t say if Biden thinks Cuomo should step down. However, she said that each of the women who have come forward “deserves to have her voice heard, should be treated with respect, and should be able to tell her story.” She has also said that Biden supports the investigation into Cuomo.
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