US President Joe Biden has urged people to wait for the results of an inquiry into sexual misconduct allegations against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Asked whether Mr Cuomo, a fellow Democrat, should resign, Mr Biden said: “I think the investigation is under way and we should see what it brings us.”
His comments contrast with those of other senior party members, who said the governor should step down.
Seven women accuse Mr Cuomo of sexual harassment, allegations he denies.
“I did not do what has been alleged,” Mr Cuomo said last week. “I never harassed anyone, I never assaulted anyone, I never abused anyone.”
The 63-year-old governor is defying a growing chorus urging him to resign.
The New York State Assembly Speaker has given the go-ahead for an investigation into the allegations made against Mr Cuomo. The inquiry, which will interview witnesses and look at evidence, could eventually see him thrown out of office.
The Democratic senators for New York, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, said Mr Cuomo had “lost the confidence” of New Yorkers.
On Sunday, Democratic 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.
She too though, like President Biden, stopped short of calling for his resignation.
Mr Cuomo, whose term in office comes to an end in 2022, was last year praised for his handling of the coronavirus outbreak in his state. However, this year he has been accused of obscuring the scale of Covid-related deaths in the state’s nursing homes.
What has Cuomo been accused of?
Mr 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, Jessica Bakeman, a former statehouse reporter in Albany, accused Mr 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.”
Mr Cuomo has yet to comment on the new allegation.
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