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Andrew Cuomo faces new calls to resign after apology for behaviour | Andrew Cuomo

Enroll for the Guardian’s First Factor publication

A collective of former New York state legislative workers on Monday denounced Andrew Cuomo’s apology for his previous behaviour, after the governor was accused of sexually harassing two girls, and referred to as for his removing or resignation.

Members of the Sexual Harassment Working Group additionally mentioned they anticipated extra allegations to observe – and accused Cuomo of “gaslighting” his accusers.

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Cuomo, the son of a former governor and himself a former US housing secretary, is one in every of America’s most outstanding governors. On Sunday he acknowledged for the primary time that a few of his behaviour in direction of girls “could have been insensitive or too private”. He additionally mentioned he would cooperate with an investigation led by the state lawyer normal.

“I acknowledge a few of the issues I’ve mentioned have been misinterpreted as an undesirable flirtation,” mentioned the Democrat, amid rising criticism from his personal occasion. “To the extent anybody felt that means, I’m really sorry about that.”

However Rita Pasarell, a member of the Sexual Harassment Working Group, a gaggle of former state staff who’ve skilled, witnessed or reported sexual harassment by New York legislators, mentioned Cuomo’s feedback didn’t represent an apology and accused him of “gaslighting” – behaviour meant to disorientate and undermine these making allegations towards him.

Pasarell instructed the Guardian: “There may be nothing in there the place he acknowledges that his behaviour was mistaken, he’s not even apologising for his behaviour. He’s solely apologising for the victims’ emotions … He’s principally saying the ladies bought it mistaken they usually misunderstood what he was doing, which is completely insulting.”

She added: “What can also be actually troubling to me about his assertion is that he’s not taking any accountability, now we have no motive to suppose he’s not going to repeat this behaviour once more. Which is to say the present workers are unprotected, he’s not match to serve as a result of he’s not displaying an understanding that he wants to commit to not doing this stuff once more.”

Pasarell referred to as for Cuomo’s removing or resignation and mentioned she believed the 2 girls’s allegations “have been just a few examples of many, many cases that now we have but to hear of and I believe we’ll hear of extra”.

Mayor Invoice de Blasio of New York Metropolis on Monday additionally criticised Cuomo’s assertion. “He simply clearly was letting himself off the hook for one thing that, for the ladies concerned, sounded fairly terrifying.”

Cuomo’s workplace didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

Cuomo is accused of asking former aide Charlotte Bennett about her intercourse life, together with whether or not she had ever had intercourse with older males, and making feedback that she interpreted as assessing her curiosity in an affair.

Bennett made the allegations days after Lindsey Boylan, one other former aide, gave additional particulars of allegations initially made in December. She claims Cuomo made feedback about her look and subjected her to an undesirable kiss.

Cuomo, 63, mentioned he wished to be a mentor to 25-year-old Bennett. He has denied Boylan’s allegations.

At first Cuomo instructed the retired federal choose Barbara Jones ought to evaluate his behaviour. He later proposed that the state lawyer normal, Letitia James, and chief appeals court docket choose, Janet DiFiore, appoint a lawyer to produce a report. Beneath mounting strain, he agreed to calls for for an inquiry led by James.

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James mentioned she anticipated a proper referral that may allow her to problem subpoenas and make use of an out of doors legislation agency for “a rigorous and impartial investigation”.

“This isn’t a duty we take evenly,” she mentioned.

On Sunday, the White Home press secretary, Jen Psaki, mentioned Joe Biden supported an impartial evaluate that “ought to transfer ahead as shortly as doable”.

The allegations towards Cuomo, who on the peak of the coronavirus pandemic was hailed as a nationwide chief, observe a separate scandal during which his administration was pressured to revise its depend of nursing residence deaths after it was revealed they have been severely undercounted.

Ron Kim.
Ron Kim. {Photograph}: Hans Pennink/AP

The Democratic assemblyman Ron Kim, who claims Cuomo threatened to “destroy” him over that scandal, which a Cuomo adviser has denied, instructed the Guardian he believed claims of sexual harassment have been a part of a “sample of abusive behaviour and him [Cuomo] abusing energy”.

He mentioned: “I consider the ladies, Charlotte, Lindsey and different former staffers and journalists who’re popping out nearly each different day with these tales of his abusive behaviour. Now it’s up to the lawmakers and different authorities to maintain [Cuomo] accountable.”

Kim referred to as on Cuomo to “take away himself from workplace”, including: “It’s very clear that he’s unfit to lead our state at this level. I believe many people are urging him to step down and we will pursue a separate investigation whereas he’s now not able of energy.”

On Sunday, the Republican state senate minority chief, Robert Ortt, referred to as on Cuomo to resign. The 2 New York US senators, Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are amongst Democrats who’ve demanded an impartial investigation.

A state senator, Alessandra Biaggi, has referred to as on Cuomo to resign, tweeting: “You’re a monster, and it’s time for you to go. Now.”

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