The allegations of sexual misconduct by two former aides, which followed a mushrooming scandal around the deaths of nursing home residents, seemed to override every other political priority in the state and left Cuomo at his most vulnerable point since taking office 10 years ago.
By evening, Cuomo was facing a new claim: A woman whom he had not previously met said the governor made unwanted advances toward her at a wedding reception in 2019, calling her "aggressive" after she removed his hand from the small of her back and asking, "Can I kiss you?"
"I was so confused and shocked and embarrassed," Anna Ruch, 33, told the New York Times in describing the encounter, which the paper said was corroborated by a friend, text message and photographs. "I turned my head away and didn't have words in that moment."
The new claim, which differed from two earlier accusations in that Ruch was not an employee of Cuomo, added to the governor's growing troubles. Already, the accusations by his former aides in recent days had become the single greatest threat to his career and an inescapable subject for New York's political class.
On Monday night, following the news of a third accuser, U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY), called on her fellow Democrat to resign. "The time has come," she tweeted. "The Governor must resign." Rice, a former prosecutor, represents a moderate district on Long Island.
Also on Monday night, CNN host Chris Cuomo, the governor's brother, acknowledged that the governor is very much in the news. "Obviously I'm aware of what's going on with my brother," Chris Cuomo said. "And obviously I cannot cover it because he is my brother."
Earlier Monday, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio attacked the governor in a series of media and public appearances, even suggesting Cuomo may need to resign. One of the governor's accusers urged others to come forward with their own accounts. And in Albany, where lawmakers are facing a multi-billion dollar deficit and end-of-month budget deadline, backroom discussions went so long the state Assembly canceled its voting session.
One of the top Democrats in the state Legislature, Senate deputy leader Mike Gianaris, called the allegations against Cuomo "incredibly disturbing" and said "it's going to be a serious problem" if investigators substantiate the claims. Asked if Democrats would support removing the governor from office, he did not directly respond.
"Events are fast-moving," Gianaris said in an interview at the state Capitol on Monday. "A lot has happened the last 24 to 48 hours. From what we know right now, the attorney general's involved in a process, we want to respect that process. Should developments change, then things could change quickly."
The governor, once a ubiquitous presence in the media, has gone silent and avoided public appearances since former aide Lindsey Boylan accused him of sexual harassment on Wednesday. A second former aide, Charlotte Bennett, came forward on Saturday night with her own accusations.
All of this followed bitter controversy over the governor's handling of nursing home residents early in the pandemic and a spate of stories about his aggressive style of leadership.
Bennett, who made her allegations in a series of interviews with Times, said in a statement Monday that the governor has refused to take responsibility for what she described as predatory behavior.
"These are not the actions of someone who simply feels misunderstood; they are the actions of an individual who wields his power to avoid justice," Bennett wrote in the statement.
Bennett claims Cuomo asked her inappropriate questions about her sex life, including "if I had ever been with an older man." That came on the heels of Boylan alleging last week that Cuomo kissed her without her consent and made inappropriate comments, including asking her to play strip poker.
"To the Governor's survivors: I am here. Lindsey is here," Bennett said in her statement. "You do not have to say a single word. But if you choose to speak your truth, we will be standing with you. I promise."
De Blasio, who has frequently and publicly clashed with the governor on a range of issues, suggested Monday that Cuomo will have to step down if the investigation into the allegations confirms what the accusers say happened.
De Blasio said an older man trying to take advantage of a younger woman to make her feel like she could lose her job if she does not consent is "horrible" — and suggested Cuomo should step down if he's found to have engaged in sexual harassment.
"If someone purposely tried to use their power to force a woman to have sex with them, of course that's someone who should no longer be in public service," de Blasio said during his daily press briefing on Monday.
The mayor has called for the immediate cancellation of Cuomo's emergency powers as well as two separate independent investigations into his behavior.
Cuomo released a statement Sunday in which he claimed his comments to Bennett were meant to be "good natured" and said he was sorry the interactions were "misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation." He also conceded he sometimes makes "jokes that I think are funny" when he is at work, believing he is "being playful."
The governor agreed on Sunday to allow state Attorney General Tish James to appoint a "qualified private lawyer" to launch an investigation into the allegations against him, reversing course after James rejected his earlier proposals and demanded subpoena power.
Cuomo's office on Monday officially directed James to move forward with the inquiry, sending a referral to her office. James pledged to disclose the findings of the investigation in a public report.
"This is not a responsibility we take lightly as allegations of sexual harassment should always be taken seriously," James, who was independently elected, said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Cuomo"s frequent critics were forcefully attacking the governor. The Senate's Republican minority leader, Rob Ortt, repeated his calls for the governor to resign.
De Blasio called Cuomo's behavior "disgusting" and "creepy" and said he has seen the governor be abusive "in a way that would not be accepted by anyone in leadership."
"Sexual harassment is not funny," he said on radio station Hot 97 earlier Monday morning. "I mean, who the hell tries to explain that by saying I was just joking around? I mean that even further confirms a mindset from a whole 'nother time that we have left behind, that's unacceptable."