New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo mentioned Tuesday he’ll resign efficient in two weeks due to a sexual harassment scandal that has crippled his administration, saying he didn’t need to distract the state from essential work to be completed.
Cuomo’s stunning announcement in a livestream from his Manhattan workplace got here minutes after his lawyer once more flatly denied claims that he had sexually harassed anybody throughout his three phrases in workplace.
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will substitute Cuomo, a fellow Democrat, and develop into the Empire State’s first feminine governor.
Cuomo’s resignation comes one week after a damning report issued by the state Lawyer Normal’s workplace discovered he had sexually harassed at the very least 11 present and former staffers, together with a state police trooper assigned to his protecting element and girls outdoors of presidency.
It additionally comes as at the very least 5 district legal professional’s places of work across the state have begun probes of potential crimes by Cuomo in opposition to among the ladies.
Cuomo, 63, mentioned he was motivated to step right down to keep away from months of distraction for the state, which is continuous to cope with the Covid pandemic, from an all-but-certain impeachment over the allegations.
“Given the circumstances, one of the best ways I may also help now could be if I step apart and let authorities get again to authorities,” Cuomo mentioned.
“And due to this fact that’s what I will do, as a result of I give you the results you want, and doing the precise factor, is doing the precise factor for you.”
Whereas persevering with to disclaim among the extra critical claims, Cuomo conceded he had offended a few of his accusers with what he thought-about pleasant or incidental bodily contact and feedback that have been regular for males of his era.
“In my thoughts, I’ve by no means crossed the road with anybody,” he mentioned. “However I did not understand the extent to which the road has been redrawn.”
“Thanks for letting me serve you. It has been the distinction of a lifetime,” Cuomo mentioned. “God bless you.”
Hochul, who’s from the Buffalo space and switch 63 this month, tweeted: “I agree with Governor Cuomo’s resolution to step down. It’s the proper factor to do and in the very best curiosity of New Yorkers.”
“As somebody who has served in any respect ranges of presidency and is subsequent within the line of succession, I’m ready to steer as New York State’s 57th Governor,” she mentioned.
White Home press secretary Jen Psaki mentioned President Joe Biden had not talked to Hochul about Cuomo’s resignation however added: “We stay up for working along with her.”
Biden, who had referred to as for Cuomo to resign, himself later mentioned that, “I respect the governor’s resolution.”
“He is completed a hell of a job,” Biden mentioned. “A hell of a job … that is why it is so unhappy.”
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul speaks at Westchester stands united in opposition to anti-semitism and hate rally at Jewish Neighborhood Middle of Mid-Westchester.
Lev Radin | LightRocket | Getty Pictures
Every week in the past Tuesday, Lawyer Normal Letitia James, herself a Democrat, mentioned Cuomo had damaged state and federal legal guidelines along with his conduct, which she asserted included undesirable touching and remarks that made the ladies really feel uncomfortable.
In a CBS Information interview that aired Monday, Cuomo govt assistant Brittany Commisso described how the governor had groped her breast in a single incident, after which rubbed her rear finish throughout one other encounter within the Govt Mansion in Albany after he urged they take a selfie picture collectively.
“What he did to me was against the law. He broke the regulation,” Commisso mentioned.
In an announcement after Cuomo’s announcement, James mentioned: “As we speak closes a tragic chapter for all of New York, but it surely’s an essential step in the direction of justice.”
“I thank Governor Cuomo for his contributions to our state. The ascension of our Lieutenant Governor, Kathy Hochul, will assist New York enter a brand new day,” James added.
“We should proceed to construct on the progress already made and enhance the lives of New Yorkers in each nook of the state. I do know our state is in good arms with Lieutenant Governor Hochul on the helm, and I stay up for persevering with to work along with her.”
Cuomo’s resolution to stop follows requires his resignation from a wave of fellow Democrats, together with Biden and members of the state’s congressional delegation — amongst them, Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand — and members of New York’s legislature.
On Sunday, Cuomo’s prime aide, Melissa DeRosa, who had been accused within the AG’s report of being a key determine in an effort to smear one of many governor’s most outstanding accusers, resigned.
After the AG’s report was issued, Hochul mentioned she believed Cuomo’s accusers, and referred to as the governor’s conduct towards these ladies “repulsive and illegal.”
Cuomo strongly denied the ladies’s claims and mentioned the probe was tainted by bias in opposition to him and by politics.
On Tuesday, Cuomo emotionally referred to his personal three daughters, saying, “I need them to know, from the underside of my coronary heart: I by no means did, and I by no means would, deliberately disrespect a girl or deal with a girl in a different way than I’d need them handled.”
“Your dad made errors. And he apologized. And he discovered from it. And that is what life is all about,” Cuomo mentioned.
In an announcement earlier than Cuomo’s announcement, his lawyer, Rita Glavin, accused the attorneys who helped conduct James’ investigation of getting a preconceived notion that Cuomo had acted inappropriately. She mentioned they disregarded proof that undercut the claims.
“I believe that ladies needs to be believed and handled pretty,” Glavin mentioned. “I additionally imagine that males needs to be believed and handled pretty. All individuals needs to be provided that.”
“The governor deserves to be handled pretty. and that didn’t occur right here.”
After Cuomo mentioned he would stop, Democratic Sen. James Skoufis, who represents a district in Orange County, New York, mentioned the state Meeting ought to nonetheless take into account impeaching Cuomo, which might enable the Senate to convict him and thus bar and barring him from holding future state workplace.
“You do not have to go too far again into impeachment historical past to see precedent for shifting ahead with impeachment after the elected official has left workplace,” Skoufis advised NBC Information’s Meet The Press Each day, in a reference to the impeachment of former President Donald Trump earlier this yr.
Cuomo is the newest high-level New York Democratic politician to be felled by a intercourse scandal.
In 2008, Gov. Eliot Spitzer resigned after revelations that had paid for intercourse from a prostitute. Former Rep. Anthony Weiner went to federal jail in late 2017 for greater than a yr after pleading responsible to sexting an underage woman. Eric Schneiderman resigned as state legal professional basic in 2018 after 4 ladies accused him of bodily abuse. Schneiderman had succeeded Cuomo as legal professional basic.
Cuomo’s resignation got here 5 months after the harassment allegations in opposition to him exploded into public view.
His fall represents a shocking turnaround from his political fortunes in 2020, when his dealing with of the Covid pandemic was extensively praised and he was given a profitable e book deal to jot down about his administration of it.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo talking August 10, 2021.
Supply: The State of New York
The governor additionally was talked about as a potential operating mate for Biden or a possible legal professional basic within the new administration.
For months, Cuomo had resisted calls to resign, which started after a number of former aides — Lindsey Boylan, Charlotte Bennett and Karen Hinton — accused him of inappropriate conduct towards them.
Different ladies described related conduct by Cuomo.
From dynasty to downfall
Cuomo is a son of the late three-term Gov. Mario Cuomo.
He beforehand was New York’s legal professional basic and as secretary of Housing and City Growth within the Clinton administration.
Cuomo has three daughters along with his ex-wife, Kerry Kennedy, whose personal father, Robert Kennedy, served as U.S. legal professional basic underneath his brother President John Kennedy and was assassinated whereas operating for president in 1968.
Cuomo grew to become a nationwide star final yr.
The governor had been lauded for his matter-of-fact press conferences detailing the grim toll of Covid-19, his frequent admonitions to take precautions from changing into contaminated and his empathetic response to the human toll from the pandemic.
Cuomo’s banter-laden interviews about Covid along with his personal brother, CNN host Chris Cuomo, received some gushing critiques, have been fodder for late-night comedians and offered grist for criticism from media ethicists.
The governor’s press conferences have been steadily contrasted with these of then-President Donald Trump, who was criticized for questioning the steerage of his personal medical advisors and repeatedly downplayed the hazard of the virus. The New York governor received an Emmy late final yr for his televised performances.
However Cuomo’s Covid administration — and his aggressive authorities administration fashion general — additionally carried the seeds of his political destruction.
At odds along with his personal occasion
Though he simply received reelection twice, Cuomo lengthy alienated many Democrats and progressives within the state.
Democratic state lawmakers even have been resentful for Cuomo’s previous tacit alliance with a small clique Democratic senators who for years successfully handed management of the state Senate to Republicans although Democrats held a majority of seats.
For his complete political profession, Cuomo has had a micromanaging, take-no-prisoners method in coping with opponents and would-be allies who’re gradual to bend to his will.
That fashion was seen in full impact in Cuomo’s coping with Meeting member Ron Kim of Queens, a Democrat who mentioned in April the governor loudly lambasted him in a cellphone name to his residence and threatened to “destroy” him over Kim’s criticism in regards to the lack of disclosure on Covid-related loss of life information.
Kim and different lawmakers had been angered after listening to from prime Cuomo aide DeRosa that his administration had withheld from information about deaths from Covid of nursing residence residents. DeRosa claimed on the time that the information was stored hidden to keep away from having it “used in opposition to us” by federal prosecutors underneath the command of Trump’s legal professional basic, William Barr.
Whilst Cuomo adamantly denied Kim’s account of that decision, he accused Kim of “unethical” conduct by supporting the homeowners of nail salons whereas the legislature mentioned adopting reforms of the trade six years in the past.
New York Metropolis Mayor Invoice de Blasio, who himself has lengthy been a whipping boy for the governor, referred to as the cellphone name “traditional Andrew Cuomo.”
“Lots of people in New York state have acquired these cellphone calls,” de Blasio mentioned throughout an MSNBC interview.
“The bullying is nothing new. I imagine Ron Kim and it is very, very unhappy, no public servant, no one who’s telling the reality, needs to be handled that manner. The threats, the belittling, the demand that somebody change their assertion proper that second … many, many instances I’ve heard that and I do know quite a lot of different individuals on this state have heard that.”
The controversy over the cellphone name erupted shortly earlier than former Cuomo aide Boylan resurrected her earlier claims that he had sexually harassed her.