Biden says New York Governor Andrew Cuomo should resign after harassment report

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WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - President Joe Biden said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo should resign after a report by the state's attorney-general found that the governor sexually harassed multiple women.

Asked whether Biden stands by remarks earlier this year in which he said Cuomo, a close ally, should step down if allegations of sexual harassment were confirmed by the attorney-general, Biden said: "Yes."

"I think he should resign," Biden added.

State Attorney-General Letitia James said on Tuesday that Cuomo engaged in "unwanted groping" and kissing of current and former state employees as well as women outside of state government.

He and his staff also retaliated against at least one former employee for coming forward, the attorney-general said at a news conference on Tuesday on a report detailing Cuomo's behaviour.

She said the governor had violated both state and federal law. Democrats representing the state in Congress, including Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, as well as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have called on Cuomo to resign, and state lawmakers have indicated he may be impeached if he refuses.

A defiant Cuomo rejected James' findings and denied the harassment allegations in his own pre-recorded statement, displaying a montage of photos of him touching the faces of strangers. He said the behaviour was simply intended to convey warmth.

"I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances," he said. "That is just not who I am or who I have ever been."

He issued his own 85-page report rebutting the allegations.

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Biden said he had not spoken to Cuomo on Tuesday.

Asked about Cuomo's denial, Biden said: "I'm not going to flyspeck this. I am sure there were some embraces that were totally innocent," but acknowledged he hadn't read James' report, which detailed allegations from 11 women, including a state trooper on his security detail.

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