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 executed.
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 exchange 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 Legal professional Basic’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 ladies exterior of presidency.
It additionally comes as at the very least 5 district lawyer’s places of work across the state have begun probes of doable crimes by Cuomo in opposition to a number of the ladies.
Cuomo, 63, mentioned he was motivated to step all the way down to keep away from months of distraction for the state, which is constant to take care of the Covid pandemic, from an all-but-certain impeachment over the allegations.
“Given the circumstances, one of the simplest ways I may also help now’s if I step apart and let authorities get again to authorities,” Cuomo mentioned.
“And due to this fact that’s what I am going to do, as a result of I give you the results you want, and doing the suitable factor, is doing the suitable factor for you.”
Whereas persevering with to disclaim a number of the extra severe 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 notice the extent to which the road has been redrawn.”
“Thanks for letting me serve you. It has been the consideration 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 sit 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 executed 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 Heart of Mid-Westchester.
Lev Radin | LightRocket | Getty Pictures
Every week in the past Tuesday, Legal professional Basic Letitia James, herself a Democrat, mentioned Cuomo had damaged state and federal legal guidelines together 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 government 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 Government Mansion in Albany after he advised they take a selfie photograph collectively.
“What he did to me was a criminal offense. He broke the legislation,” Commisso mentioned.
In a press release after Cuomo’s announcement, James mentioned: “Right this moment closes a tragic chapter for all of New York, however it’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 fingers with Lieutenant Governor Hochul on the helm, and I sit up for persevering with to work along with her.”
Cuomo’s resolution to give up 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 high 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 distinguished accusers, resigned.
After the AG’s report was issued, Hochul mentioned she believed Cuomo’s accusers, and referred to as the governor’s habits 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 another 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 a press release earlier than Cuomo’s announcement, his lawyer, Rita Glavin, accused the legal professionals 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 feel that girls must be believed and handled pretty,” Glavin mentioned. “I additionally consider that males must be believed and handled pretty. All individuals must be on condition that.”
“The governor deserves to be handled pretty. and that didn’t occur right here.”
After Cuomo mentioned he would give up, Democratic Sen. James Skoufis, who represents a district in Orange County, New York, mentioned the state Meeting ought to nonetheless think about 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 informed NBC Information’s Meet The Press Day by day, in a reference to the impeachment of former President Donald Trump earlier this 12 months.
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 12 months after pleading responsible to sexting an underage lady. Eric Schneiderman resigned as state lawyer basic in 2018 after 4 ladies accused him of bodily abuse. Schneiderman had succeeded Cuomo as lawyer 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 ebook 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 doable operating mate for Biden or a possible lawyer 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 habits 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 lawyer basic and as secretary of Housing and City Growth within the Clinton administration.
Cuomo has three daughters together with his ex-wife, Kerry Kennedy, whose personal father, Robert Kennedy, served as U.S. lawyer basic underneath his brother President John Kennedy and was assassinated whereas operating for president in 1968.
Cuomo turned a nationwide star final 12 months.
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 turning into contaminated and his empathetic response to the human toll from the pandemic.
Cuomo’s banter-laden interviews about Covid together with his personal brother, CNN host Chris Cuomo, gained 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 ceaselessly 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 gained an Emmy late final 12 months for his televised performances.
However Cuomo’s Covid administration — and his aggressive authorities administration type general — additionally carried the seeds of his political destruction.
At odds together with his personal celebration
Though he simply gained 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 regardless that 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 type 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 telephone name to his residence and threatened to “destroy” him over Kim’s criticism in regards to the lack of disclosure on Covid-related demise information.
Kim and different lawmakers had been angered after listening to from high 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 saved hidden to keep away from having it “used in opposition to us” by federal prosecutors underneath the command of Trump’s lawyer basic, William Barr.
At the same time as 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 business 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 telephone name “basic Andrew Cuomo.”
“Lots of people in New York state have obtained these telephone calls,” de Blasio mentioned throughout an MSNBC interview.
“The bullying is nothing new. I consider Ron Kim and it is very, very unhappy, no public servant, no one that’s telling the reality, must be handled that method. The threats, the belittling, the demand that somebody change their assertion proper that second … many, many occasions I’ve heard that and I do know a whole lot of different individuals on this state have heard that.”
The controversy over the telephone name erupted shortly earlier than former Cuomo aide Boylan resurrected her earlier claims that he had sexually harassed her.
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