Will the powerful governor of New York State be forced to resign? Pressure builds after a third woman accuses Andrew Cuomo of inappropriate behavior. He was already questioned for his behavior by two former collaborators.
On Monday evening, 33-year-old Anna Ruch, who has never worked with him, told the New York Times that he had “Shocked” wanting to kiss him against his will at a wedding in 2019. The newspaper published a photo showing the governor holding M’s cheeksme Ruch, visibly scared.
The new testimony “Makes his maintenance [à son poste] much more difficult “, said Sam Abrams, professor of political science at Sarah Lawrence College.
His accusers are asking for his resignation, like a growing number of elected New Yorkers, Republicans but also Democrats like him.
His special powers removed
As a sign of the weakening of the governor, state parliamentarians agreed on Tuesday to withdraw the special powers they had granted him a year ago, at the start of the pandemic, allowing him to impose measures of quarantine and confinement. These prerogatives expired in April.
“These special powers were granted when New York was devastated by an unknown virus, it is time to return to normal operation”, commented the leader of the Democrats of the Lower House, Carl Heastie, without mentioning the accusations of harassment or the scandal of the retirement homes.
Despite his setbacks, this governor among the most powerful in the United States, who has led New York State for 10 years and whose third term expires at the end of 2022, is not the type to declare himself defeated.
A tarnished political career
Especially since the big bosses of the Democratic Party, in New York or Washington, have not joined in the calls for resignation. While judging the charges against the governor “Disturbing”, the Democratic leader of the United States Senate Chuck Schumer has, like others, called to await the results of the investigation planned into these allegations.
Mr. Cuomo, a former prosecutor, ended up agreeing to hand her over to the state’s attorney, Letitia James, of undisputed independence. The duration of the investigation was not specified.
To force Cuomo to resign, the New York parliament would be required to initiate impeachment proceedings against him similar to those that exist at the federal level to remove a president.
Such a scenario seems unlikely, according to several analysts. After four years of the Trump presidency and ultra-polarization, party affiliations “Took over”, especially on what concerns #MeToo when it comes to supporting or not an elected official, according to Michael Miller, political scientist at Barnard University. Even if the Democrats – and especially the left wing of the party – want to be an exemplary party in matters of conduct, many refuse to be bound by principles that the Republicans themselves do not respect, he says.
However, even if he escapes resignation or impeachment, many believe that Mr. Cuomo’s political career could be coming to an end. “It is reasonable to think that this is his last term as governor, and his last year of public service”, says Michael Miller.