New York State Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs called for embattled Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign on Wednesday, joining a growing list of major political figures who have spoken out since an independent investigation concluded that the governor sexually harassed multiple women.
Jacobs, a longtime political ally to Cuomo, said the conclusions reached in the report overseen by New York State Attorney General Letitia James’ office "can only be described as extremely damning and upsetting."
"I believe the allegations. I cannot speak to the Governor’s motivations. What I can say is that the Governor has lost his ability to govern, both practically and morally," Jacobs said in a statement. "The Party and this State will not be well served by a long, protracted removal process designed only to delay what is now, clearly, inevitable."
Prominent Democrats at the national and state level, including President Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and both of New York’s U.S. senators, have called for Cuomo to resign. The report found Cuomo engaged in "unwanted groping, kissing, and hugging," made inappropriate remarks toward staffers and oversaw a workplace culture "rife with fear and intimidation."
So far, Cuomo has refused to resign and denied any wrongdoing, stating that he "never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances."
Jacobs said he did not join the first wave of calls for Cuomo’s resignation "in an effort to effect a positive and expeditious resolution." He reversed course following the governor’s response to the report’s findings.
"Now, however, it appears that contrary to what I have advised, the Governor may seek to prolong the current situation," Jacobs said. "I have called the Governor this afternoon to inform him of my decision to issue a statement."
New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie indicated that lawmakers will fast-track an ongoing inquiry into whether Cuomo should be impeached following the release of James’ report.
"Once we receive all relevant documents and evidence from the Attorney General, we will move expeditiously and look to conclude our impeachment investigation as quickly as possible," Heastie said in a statement.