New York state Democratic lawmakers that have been calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign or step aside have been appearing with him at his press conferences this week.
This includes Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who was the first high-ranking Democratic state official to call for him to resign after numerous women came forward accusing the governor of sexual harassment.
She joined the governor at a press conference in Yonkers this week to urge New Yorkers to get vaccinated, but the optics raised eyebrows.
When questioned on Friday about his working relationship with the majority leader, Cuomo likened calls for his resignation to political posturing.
“People take political positions every day,” Cuomo said. “We often have different political positions. I understand that. But we separate political positions and our official duties.”
Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins reacted to these comments, saying, “this is not about politics and to suggest otherwise is offensive. The governor should resign.”
Promises of more accessibility to New York state government were also made on Friday by Cuomo.
For months, Governor Cuomo has been holding events around the state, flanked by dozens, sometimes upwards of 30-plus people, praising his leadership as he combatted continuous scandals.
Each event has been closed to the press, with the governor’s aides citing COVID-19 concerns as the reason why the press has not been allowed to attend.
Instead, Cuomo at times has taken questions by Zoom, with each person handpicked by the governor’s staff.
This has caused tremendous backlash from good government watchdog groups and the Journalists Association of New York, which sent a letter to the administration demanding that press be allowed to attend these events.
According to The Associated Press, only Cuomo and the governor of Michigan are not holding in-person press briefings.
But on Friday, Cuomo said that potentially as soon as next week, he could be holding outdoor events that the press would be allowed to attend.
“I know next week we're going to do things outside,” Cuomo said. “And when you're outside, you have more open space, it's easier, and we can invite the press. But whether I talk to you through this, or if you happen to be sitting here, I don't know that makes a lot of difference. Also, many more people participate this way.”
It did make a difference on Wednesday, when Cuomo’s staff muted a reporter mid-question while he was asking Cuomo if he would resign if the attorney general’s report found Cuomo broke sexual harassment laws.
At the time, Cuomo said that he would wait for the “review” to come out.