The New York governor, Andrew Cuomo, 63, announced on Tuesday (August 10) he will resign from the position effective in two weeks after the state’s Attorney General (NY AG) Letitia James determined in her report that he sexually harassed 11 women, most of whom worked for him, and also retaliated after some made complaints. He has denied the allegations.
Cuomo initially refused to leave the post despite facing public pressure to do so, including from United States President Joe Biden, members of the state’s congressional delegation and members of New York’s legislature. He will continue acting as the state leader for the next 14 days, after which Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, a Buffalo Democrat, will take over the position, becoming the first woman to lead the Empire State.
“Given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to government,” Cuomo said in a live stream from his Manhattan office. “And therefore that is what I’ll do, because I work for you, and doing the right thing, is doing the right thing for you.”
Though Cuomo apologized to his accusers, he made it clear he did not believe he stepped over a red line requiring removal from office.
A native New Yorker, Andrew Cuomo is the son of former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, a Democratic powerhouse, who served from 1983 to 1994. His departure marks the second time in 15 years that a New York governor has resigned. In 2008, Eliot Spitzer left office amid charges he patronized a sex worker. Cuomo’s resignation also ends a 10-year run as governor and a four-decade career in politics that began with helping his father.
“Today, closes a sad chapter for all of New York, but it’s an important step towards justice,” said James’ in a series of tweets following his resignation. She added that the ascension of Hochul will help New York enter a “new day.”
Cuomo intended to run for a fourth term next year. A remarkable fall from grace.
In his resignation announcement, Cuomo said the investigation had “political motives”. As criticism mounted that Cuomo had mishandled aspects of the COVID-19 battle, especially in nursing homes, in order not to be exposed, the democratic establishment accused him of “sexual harassment” and “resigned” him.
With reporting by CNBC, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today