In this June 23, 2021 file photo, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference in New York. Credit: Mary Altaffer / AP

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If you or someone you know needs resources or support related to sexual violence, contact the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s 24/7 hotline at 800-871-7741.

We’ve seen more than enough. Whether he resigns or is removed through impeachment, it’s clear that Andrew Cuomo should no longer be governor of New York.

Earlier this year, when he had been facing a previous chorus of resignation calls over allegations of inappropriate behavior and sexual harassment, Cuomo basically tried to frame the idea of him facing consequences as “anti-democratic.” People were rushing to judgment, he argued. “I ask the people of this state to wait for the facts from the attorney general’s report before forming an opinion,” he said in March.

Well, the  report from New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office was released this week, and it’s not difficult to form the opinion that Cuomo needs to go.

“Upon completion of our independent investigation into allegations of sexual harassment brought against Governor Andrew Cuomo and the surrounding circumstances, we have reached the conclusion that the Governor sexually harassed a number of State employees through unwelcome and unwanted touching, as well as by making numerous offensive and sexually suggestive comments,” reads the conclusion of the report. “We find that such conduct was part of a pattern of behavior that extended to his interactions with others outside of State government.”

One hundred and seventy-nine people were interview as part of the report, which validated the allegations of 11 women who accused Cuomo of sexual harassment.

The details are damning. So too was Cuomo’s  response.

He sort of apologized. But not really. He denied touching anyone inappropriately or making sexual advances. He implied that the report was “biased” and that his accusers aren’t “legitimate sexual harassment victims.” He actually tried to use “I do it with everyone” as an excuse, and showed a baffling compilation of photos where he is embracing or touching people in public. Cuomo hugging Bill Clinton and kissing other people in public is not the defense he thinks it is.

He suggested that this is about cultural and generational dynamics, when this is really about power dynamics. He also suggested that people would be “naive” not to think that “politics and bias are interwoven throughout every aspect of this situation.”

We frankly couldn’t care less about the politics, or tell you much about the New York political landscape, for that matter. What we do care about is the message this situation sends to the women and men across the country who have been the victims of sexual assault or harassment.

“This isn’t an apology. It’s a defense video,” said Nicole Bedera, who researches sexual violence at the University of Michigan, as reported by USA Today. “He’s abusing his position of power to take control of the narrative and tell us that he’s the one with the authority to define what sexual harassment is. And that’s a problem.”

Bedera added that, “To see Cuomo acting defensively can be damaging to his victims. He’s hurting the credibility of his and all survivors, and that is something we should never tolerate from an elected official.”

Combined with his past comments about preventing sexual harassment and believing women who come forward with accusations, Cuomo’s current stance appears to be: Believe women, except the women who have accused me of things. It’s a dangerous message to survivors that must be rejected across the board.

Cuomo doesn’t have to resign. But he should. And if he remains steadfast in his damaging defiance, claiming to have learned from this while refusing to acknowledge the way his continued denials and deflections can impact survivors, New York lawmakers absolutely should exercise their authority to impeach and remove him. A majority of members in the state Assembly support starting impeachment proceedings if he doesn’t resign, as reported by the Associated Press.

“My job is not about me. My job is about you,” Cuomo said during his pre-taped response this week. If he truly believes that, the best thing he can do for New York, and for assault and harassment survivors across the country, is to step down.

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The BDN Editorial Board

The Bangor Daily News editorial board members are Publisher Richard J. Warren, Editorial Page Editor Susan Young, Assistant Editorial Page Editor Matt Junker and BDN President Todd Benoit. Young has worked...