WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden called on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign Tuesday following an investigation by the state attorney general’s office that found he sexually harassed almost a dozen women, including employees in his office, and violated state and federal laws.
"I think he should resign," Biden told reporters at the White House. When asked whether he thought Cuomo, a Democrat in his third term, should be impeached and removed from office should he refuse to step down, Biden said, "Let's take one thing at a time."
Biden said he has not read the report or spoken to Cuomo.
Biden's comments were the latest in a string of calls from Democratic members of Congress on Tuesday for Cuomo to resign.
Moments after the president spoke, New York state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, who in March authorized the chamber to launch an impeachment investigation into Cuomo, said in a statement the probe would move forward.
"It is abundantly clear to me that the Governor has lost the confidence of the Assembly Democratic majority and that he can no longer remain in office. 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, a Democrat, said.
Earlier Tuesday Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, both New York Democrats, released a joint statement calling the allegations against Cuomo "profoundly disturbing, inappropriate and completely unacceptable."
No elected official is above the law, they said, adding that "we continue to believe that the Governor should resign."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi echoed the senators.
"Recognizing his love of New York and the respect for the office he holds, I call upon the Governor to resign," Pelosi, who stopped short of calling on him to leave office in March, said in a statement.
The state attorney general’s office found that Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women, nine of whom are current and former state employees — and one of whom is a New York state trooper. "None of them welcomed it and all of them found it uncomfortable," New York Attorney General Letitia James told reporters Tuesday.
Shortly after the report was released, Cuomo denied the claims. In lengthy remarks, during which he singled out one of his accusers by name in order to respond to her allegations, Cuomo said, “I want you to know directly from me that I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances.”
He also suggested the investigation was tainted by "bias" and political motivations.
Democratic members of the New York congressional delegation also made a renewed call for Cuomo to resign.
The report is "deeply disturbing, clear and thorough," House members, including Reps. Carolyn Maloney, Jerry Nadler and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, said after the release of the findings.
"For the good of New York State, Andrew Cuomo must resign," they said.
In a joint statement, the Democratic governors of four neighboring states also called on Cuomo to step down.
“We are appalled at the findings of the independent investigation by the New York Attorney General. Governor Cuomo should resign from office," said Govs. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania, Phil Murphy of New Jersey, Ned Lamont of Connecticut, and Dan McKee of Rhode Island.
James' investigators detailed in graphic terms accusations of harassment by Cuomo, including making sexual comments and grabbing women.
Cuomo is accused of "a pattern of inappropriate conduct" with a staff member described as "Executive Assistant #1," which included kissing her on the lips at least once, grabbing her buttocks during hugs, asking multiple times about whether she had cheated or would cheat on her husband and once reaching under her blouse and grabbing her breast, according to the report.
"It is beyond clear that Andrew Cuomo is not fit to hold office and can no longer serve as Governor," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. "He must resign, and if he continues to resist and attack the investigators who did their jobs, he should be impeached immediately.”
Cuomo, a Democrat in his third term, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing since allegations against him were first made public this year.
In March, Biden said Cuomo should resign if the investigation into his conduct confirmed allegations of sexual harassment against him. Biden said Tuesday that he stood by that position.