New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has denied allegations of sexual misconduct. Image Credit: Reuters

New York: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Andrew Cuomo “just can’t serve as governor anymore,” adding his voice on Thursday to a growing chorus of calls for Cuomo to resign after six women accused him of sexual misconduct.

Cuomo, 63, has denied the allegations by the women, most of whom are former aides. The most recent is an unnamed aide who told The Times-Union newspaper on Tuesday that Cuomo had groped her after calling her to the executive mansion last year under the pretext of business. Reuters could neither independently verify the woman’s identity, nor her account.

Cuomo denied the accusation, the Times-Union reported on Wednesday, saying “I have never done anything like this,” and called the details “gut-wrenching.” Representatives for Cuomo did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

Broad apology

The governor issued a broad apology at a news conference last week for any behavior that made women feel uncomfortable, but maintained that he has never touched anyone inappropriately.

The office of New York State Attorney General Letitia James is leading an independent investigation into the allegations.

Cuomo has said he will not resign and has asked the public to await the results of that probe before making judgment.

De Blasio, a longtime political rival of Cuomo, said on Thursday that the latest accusation was disturbing.

“The specific allegation that the governor called an employee of his, someone who he had power over, called them to a private place and then sexually assaulted her, it’s absolutely unacceptable,” de Blasio told reporters. “It is disgusting to me, and he can no longer serve as governor.” Calls for Cuomo to step down have been mounting since late February, when Cuomo’s first accuser, a former aide and current Manhattan borough president candidate Lindsey Boylan, published an essay accusing him of making unwanted advances.

The governor has also faced accusations in recent weeks that his administration sought to downplay the number of nursing home residents killed by COVID-19.

Last weekend, the two top Democrats in New York’s state legislature called on the governor to resign, saying the sexual misconduct allegations have undermined his ability to lead.

Best for New York

On Thursday, more than 55 Democratic New York legislators followed suit in a letter calling for Cuomo’s resignation.

“As legislators and as New Yorkers we all must decide what is best for the future of New York State,” read the letter, which was posted on Twitter by one of its signatories, Democratic Assemblywoman Amanda Septimo of the South Bronx. “Enough is enough,” Septimo wrote.

Meanwhile, New York State Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs, a Cuomo appointee who last week urged the public to refrain from judging the governor before the state attorney general’s review was complete, said he had reached an agreement with New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie that the legislature would begin its own review into the allegations.

“With the preponderance of these allegations ... now is the time for the Legislature to commence its own review of these matters as a part of its Constitutional responsibilities,” Jacobs said in a statement, adding that he had “full confidence” in the state attorney general’s investigation.