New York State Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs called for Governor Cuomo to resign, the latest sign of the cratering support for the state’s top elected Democrat after the release the State Attorney General’s report that details how he targeted nearly a dozen individuals with sex-based harassment and misconduct.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Jacobs made clear that he believes Cuomo has lost the support of the state party organization and can no longer govern effectively in his current role, a striking condemnation from someone who was considered a close ally and argued in the spring that the governor deserved a full investigation, “in the interest of fairness.”
“The Attorney General’s exhaustive and professional investigation yielded conclusions that can only be described as extremely damning and upsetting,” Jacobs said in the statement where he urged Cuomo to step down and avoid a potentially drawn out impeachment and removal proceeding.
Cuomo has denied the accusations in a pre-recorded video that was released Tuesday.
In a follow-up interview with Gothamist/WNYC, Jacobs said he has had multiple frank conversations with Cuomo since the 165-page report was released on Tuesday, urging him to step down and preserve what remains of his legacy. He said he purposefully delayed making any statement in the hopes that he might be able to persuade Cuomo to leave office “in a dignified manner, expeditiously as possible.”
“Unfortunately, I began to get the sense that the governor’s view is that he’d like to see more time go by and have a greater opportunity to make his case,” Jacobs told Gothamist/WNYC.
The latest comments from the party chairman serves as yet another blow to Cuomo who has seen members of his party from President Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, and Sen. Kirsten Gillbrand, along with members of New York’s congressional delegation through state and local leaders call for his resignation.
“There are just so many people who have already come out asking for him to resign and saying he should leave office that it’s kind of like the toothpaste is out of the tube, and it’s very hard to get it back in at this point,” Jacobs said.
Despite the mounting pressure, Jacobs believed that Cuomo will attempt to hold another media briefing as soon as Thursday joined by his defense lawyers to try to reshape the narrative of what was documented in the A.G.’s report by sharing their own evidence.
He also made clear in his statement and in his interview with Gothamist/WNYC that he believes New York State has benefited from Cuomo’s leadership and bristled at the criticism from some lawmakers who objected to any glorification of his time in office.
“The Tappan Zee Bridge, which is now the Mario Cuomo Bridge, isn’t going away. LaGuardia Airport isn’t going away. Gay marriage isn’t going away. Gun control laws, the progressive laws throughout New York State that were done in his tenure are not going away. Those are parts of his legacy, too,” Jacobs insisted.
A spokesman for Cuomo did not respond to a request for comment about a media availability scheduled for Thursday. The governor often does not publicly release his schedule until the morning of an event.