New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigns over sexual harassment scandal, will depart workplace in 2 weeks
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 vital work to be finished.
Cuomo’s surprising 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 change Cuomo, a fellow Democrat, and change 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 least 11 present and former staffers, together with a state police trooper assigned to his protecting element and ladies outdoors of presidency.
It additionally comes as at the least 5 district lawyer’s places of work across the state have begun probes of potential crimes by Cuomo in opposition to a number of the ladies.
Cuomo, 63, mentioned he was motivated to step right down to keep away from months of distraction for the state, which is constant to cope with the Covid pandemic, from an all-but-certain impeachment over the allegations.
“Given the circumstances, one of the simplest ways I will 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 am going to do, as a result of I be just right for you, and doing the correct factor, is doing the correct 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 honour 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 determination 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 together with her.”
Biden, who had referred to as for Cuomo to resign, himself later mentioned that, “I respect the governor’s determination.”
“He is finished 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 Group Middle of Mid-Westchester.
Lev Radin | LightRocket | Getty Photos
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 urged they take a selfie photograph collectively.
“What he did to me was a criminal offense. He broke the regulation,” Commisso mentioned.
In a press release after Cuomo’s announcement, James mentioned: “At this time closes a tragic chapter for all of New York, however it’s an vital step in 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 together with her.”
Cuomo’s determination 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 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 would like 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 might need them handled.”
“Your dad made errors. And he apologized. And he realized 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 ladies ought to be believed and handled pretty,” Glavin mentioned. “I additionally consider that males ought to be believed and handled pretty. All folks ought to 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 contemplate 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 transferring ahead with impeachment after the elected official has left workplace,” Skoufis informed NBC Information’s Meet The Press Each 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 woman. Eric Schneiderman resigned as state lawyer common in 2018 after 4 ladies accused him of bodily abuse. Schneiderman had succeeded Cuomo as lawyer common.
Cuomo’s resignation got here 5 months after the harassment allegations in opposition to him exploded into public view.
His fall represents a surprising 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 lawyer common 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 lawyer common 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 common beneath 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 changing 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 opinions, have been fodder for late-night comedians and supplied grist for criticism from media ethicists.
The governor’s press conferences have been incessantly contrasted with these of then-President Donald Trump, who was criticized for questioning the steering 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 fashion general — additionally carried the seeds of his political destruction.
At odds together with his personal get together
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 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 sluggish 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 telephone name to his house and threatened to “destroy” him over Kim’s criticism concerning the lack of disclosure on Covid-related dying knowledge.
Kim and different lawmakers had been angered after listening to from prime Cuomo aide DeRosa that his administration had withheld from knowledge about deaths from Covid of nursing house residents. DeRosa claimed on the time that the info was stored hidden to keep away from having it “used in opposition to us” by federal prosecutors beneath the command of Trump’s lawyer common, 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 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 “traditional 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 who’s telling the reality, ought to be handled that method. 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 plenty of different folks 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.