Cuomo avoids public amid outcry over harassment allegations

Full Screen
1 / 7

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

FILE - In this Feb. 22, 2021 photo, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, right, pauses to listen to a reporter's question during a news conference at a COVID-19 vaccination site in the Brooklyn borough of New York. New York's attorney general said she's moving forward with an investigation into sexual harassment allegations against the governor after receiving a letter from his office Monday authorizing her to take charge of the probe. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, Pool, file)

ALBANY, N.Y. – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has avoided public appearances for days as some members of his own party call for him to resign over sexual harassment allegations.

The governor hasn’t taken questions from reporters since a Feb. 22 briefing, an unusually long gap for a Democrat whose daily, televised updates on the coronavirus pandemic were must-see TV last spring.

He was last before video cameras Thursday, when he introduced President Joe Biden at a virtual meeting of the National Governor’s Association, which he chairs. He also participated Tuesday in the group's conference call, which was off-limits to reporters.

The public absence was more glaring after legislative leaders announced Tuesday they were limiting the governor’s broad powers to unilaterally set state policy during the pandemic.

The governor is also facing criticism for withholding, for months, a full accounting of the number of nursing home residents who died of COVID-19.

Under the bill, Cuomo would still have the power to keep alive his existing COVID-19 rules or tweak them. But he’ll no longer be allowed to make decisions without any input from the Legislature. He’ll have to notify legislative committees and local governments and respond to their questions in certain circumstances.

Neither Cuomo nor his spokespeople have commented on the latest allegation made against him Monday night. A woman told The New York Times that Cuomo touched her lower back, then grabbed her cheeks and asked to kiss her at a September 2019 wedding.

Most leading Democrats have signaled they want to wait for the results of an investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James into claims that Cuomo sexually harassed at least two women in his administration.