US President Joe Biden has declined joining the growing calls for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s resignation.
Seven women have now accused Cuomo of sexual harassment, allegations he denies.
Cuomo was first accused of harassment in February, when Lindsey Boylan, a former top-level aide, wrote in an essay that the governor touched her without her consent and frequently made inappropriate comments about her appearance.
Ms Boylan accused Mr Cuomo of kissing her on the lips and asking her to play strip poker while on his private jet.
Several more women have come forward with allegations. The most serious allegation, that Mr Cuomo groped an unnamed woman beneath her blouse, was referred to police.
On Friday March 12, Jessica Bakeman, a former statehouse reporter in Albany, accused Cuomo of repeatedly touching her. She wrote in New York magazine: “He uses touching and sexual innuendo to stoke fear in us. That is the textbook definition of sexual harassment.”
But despite the allegations, Biden is standing by his fellow Democrat, at least for now.
Asked whether Cuomo should resign, Biden said: “I think the investigation is under way and we should see what it brings us.”
Cuomo, 63 has denied assaulting or abusing anyone
“I did not do what has been alleged,” Cuomo said last week. “I never harassed anyone, I never assaulted anyone, I never abused anyone.”
Other senior party members have called for Cuomo to step down and the New York State Assembly Speaker has given the go-ahead for an investigation into the allegations made against Mr Cuomo, an act that might see him impeached.
Democratic senators for New York, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, said Mr Cuomo had “lost the confidence” of New Yorkers.
On Sunday March 14, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, said “what these women have said must be treated with respect. They are credible and serious charges.”
“The governor should look inside his heart – he loves New York – to see if he can govern effectively,” Ms Pelosi told ABC’s This Week.
Cuomo’s term in office comes to an end in 2022.
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