Democratic Leaders of N.Y. Legislature Take Aim at Cuomo

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It’s Monday.

Weather: Sunny, with a high in the mid-40s.

Alternate-side parking: In effect until March 28 (Passover).


Credit…Pool photo by Seth Wenig

On Sunday afternoon, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo seemed at his most defiant. Eleven days after the first of several women accused him of sexual harassment or unsettling behavior, prompting several Democratic politicians to call on the governor to step down, Mr. Cuomo forcefully said at a news briefing that he would not.

“I’m not going to resign because of allegations,” the governor said. “There is no way I resign.”

But later on Sunday, he was dealt a stunning blow that placed him in the most politically precarious position since the scandal emerged: Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the leader of the New York State Senate, called on Mr. Cuomo to resign “for the good of the state.” Shortly after, Carl E. Heastie, the leader of the Assembly, issued a statement expressing concerns about “the governor’s ability to continue to lead this state.”

[Ms. Stewart-Cousins is the most prominent New York State official to call for Mr. Cuomo’s resignation.]

The background

In recent weeks, three women have lodged accusations against Mr. Cuomo. Two were former state workers who accused the governor of sexual harassment, and a third woman accused him of unwanted touching and kissing at a wedding.

The state attorney general, Letitia James, is leading an investigation into the sexual harassment allegations.

Two additional reports by women of uncomfortable encounters with the governor emerged on Saturday. Karen Hinton, a former aide, told The Washington Post about what she called an attempted sexual encounter in a hotel room in 2000, which she said she resisted.

Another former staffer, Ana Liss, told The Wall Street Journal that the governor had made her uncomfortable with questions about her romantic life, and had kissed her on the hand.

“Every day, there is another account that is drawing away from the business of government,” Ms. Stewart-Cousins said in her statement on Sunday.

Cuomo fights back

At the greatest moment of political peril for Mr. Cuomo in his decade in power, the governor has become increasingly isolated.

But at the news briefing on Sunday, Mr. Cuomo said that he would not be distracted by the accusations, arguing that he was elected by the people, not “by politicians.”

The governor said New Yorkers should withhold judgment until the inquiry overseen by Ms. James had examined the allegations, which could take months.

“Every woman has a right to come forward. That’s true. But the truth also matters. What she said is not true,” Mr. Cuomo said of Ms. Hinton’s account. “She has been a longtime political adversary of mine.”

In response to Ms. Liss’s account, Mr. Cuomo said he regularly asks people how they are doing and if they are dating.

“That’s my way of doing friendly banter,” he said.


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Want more news? Check out our full coverage.

The Küçük Crossword: Here is today’s puzzle.


What we’re reading

The federal stimulus package includes about $100 billion for New York, including money for education, the subway, vaccine and aid for restaurants. [Gothamist]

A 10-year-old Harlem uzunluk died after police found him with severe bruising, puncture wounds and cuts. [Daily News]

Restaurants in the state outside of New York City will be allowed to increase their indoor capacity to 75 percent starting on March 19. [ABC7]


And finally: International Women’s Day has roots in New York

On March 8, 1975, hundreds of women marched down Fifth Avenue, led by a group carrying a huge red, white and blue banner reading: “International Women’s Day Coalition.” Among them was the prominent feminist and author Betty Friedan, who said women in America had “unfinished business.”

“Women are being hurt the most by job layoffs, unemployment, and the chaos of a massive depression,” she said. “We also have to fight our enemies who refuse to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, and our enemies who are trying to deny us abortions and the control of our own bodies.”

More than 40 years later, as the world marks yet another International Women’s Day, many of the issues remain. As the march in 1975 showed, the movement has decades of history in New York.

In fact, the roots of International Women’s Day can be found in a protest on March 8, 1908, when thousands of women on New York City’s Lower East Side demanded an end to sweatshop conditions for garment workers. The day was officially recognized by the United Nations in 1977.

Today, the event is marked by protests, celebrations and events in many countries worldwide, paying homage to the progress made over the last century, as well as the significant amount of work still to be done.

This year, the event’s theme is “Choose to challenge.”

“We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality,” the International Women’s Day website says. “We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.”

It’s Monday — march forward.


Metropolitan Diary: Twilight and dusk

Dear Diary:

We wanted to see the owl, and we also wanted to go for a run. So we drove from Brooklyn to Manhattan and ran through Central Park. The owl eluded us, but we got to see the city at twilight and then at dusk.

When we came back out onto Fifth Avenue, we saw an older woman with a dog chatting with a man who was standing beside what appeared to be his car. Their body language was sweet and kind.

As we got into our car, the man pulled an empty baby seat from the back of the car and crossed the street.

As I pulled away from the curb, my partner leaned forward and saw that we were across from the entrance to Mount Sinai’s maternity ward. We rolled down the windows and shouted our congratulations to the man as he walked up the steps excitedly.

I wonder if he heard us.

— David Mountain


New York Today is published weekdays around 6 a.m. Sign up here to get it by email. You can also find it at nytoday.com.

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