Probe of Cuomo lays bare Democratic divide pitting progressives vs. establishment
New York Democrat calls for Cuomo’s immediate resignation: ‘It’s over’
James Skoufis, a New York State senator, says Cuomo should be removed from office if he doesn’t resign in the coming days.
Tuesday’s bombshell report by the progressive New York attorney general saying Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women has once again highlighted the growing political divide between the Democratic Party’s left-wing and its establishment.
State Attorney General Letitia James revealed Tuesday that she concluded during her months-long investigation that Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women, including current and former state employees, from 2013 to 2020 in violation of state and federal law.
James, New York’s first Black attorney general with solid roots in Brooklyn politics and the organized labor scene in the state, has become a household name following several high-profile investigations of the governor and former President Donald Trump. While she has not formally announced her intention to run for governor, a Siena poll released in May showed her out-performing Cuomo among potential Democratic voters.
Cuomo, who denies any wrongdoing and refuses to resign, appears to believe that the investigation by James’s office is a political one. His lawyers issued a statement Tuesday in response to the attorney general’s report, saying, “Regrettably, as the findings in the Report show, the investigators have directed an utterly biased investigation and willfully ignored evidence inconsistent with the narrative they have sought to weave form the outset.”
The Cuomo scandal has posed problems for establishment Democrats like President Biden, who last year called the governor the “gold standard” for leadership. The president, as well as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, have all called on Cuomo to resign in light of Tuesday’s report but declined to comment on whether impeachment proceedings should begin if the governor refused.
It was the first time Biden and Pelosi had called on the governor to resign, though Schumer did back in March.
The self-described democratic socialists of the Democratic Party, however, including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jamaal Bowman, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have repeatedly called for Cuomo’s resignation over the course of the investigation.
The controversy surrounding Cuomo has laid bare the growing rift between progressives and the establishment ahead of the 2022 elections. It played out Tuesday night in an Ohio special congressional election, where the “Squad”-endorsed Nina Turner, a former Ohio state lawmaker who co-chaired the 2020 presidential run of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, lost her bid for the Democratic nomination for a U.S. House seat to Cuyahoga County Councilwoman Shontel Brown, who was endorsed by Hillary Clinton and U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, the House majority whip.
The political rift also recently came to light in New York City’s mayoral Democratic primary, where Eric Adams, a retired NYPD captain, beat out progressives after running on a tough-on-crime platform.
Andrew Mark Miller contributed reporting.
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