New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigns over sexual harassment scandal, will go away 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 wish to distract the state from essential work to be finished.
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 change 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 girls exterior of presidency.
It additionally comes as at the very least 5 district legal professional’s workplaces across the state have begun probes of potential crimes by Cuomo towards 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 take care of the Covid pandemic, from an all-but-certain impeachment over the allegations.
“Given the circumstances, the easiest way I might 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 be just right for you, and doing the proper factor, is doing the proper factor for you.”
Whereas persevering with to disclaim among 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 had 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 glory 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 choice to step down. It’s the proper factor to do and in the most effective 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 look ahead to working together with her.”
Biden, who had known as for Cuomo to resign, himself later mentioned that, “I respect the governor’s choice.”
“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 towards anti-semitism and hate rally at Jewish Neighborhood Middle 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 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 prompt they take a selfie photograph collectively.
“What he did to me was a criminal offense. 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, 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 arms with Lieutenant Governor Hochul on the helm, and I look ahead to persevering with to work together with her.”
Cuomo’s choice 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 distinguished accusers, resigned.
After the AG’s report was issued, Hochul mentioned she believed Cuomo’s accusers, and known 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 towards 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 otherwise than I might 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 feel that girls 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 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 Day by day, in a reference to the impeachment of former President Donald Trump earlier this yr.
Cuomo is the most recent 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 normal in 2018 after 4 ladies accused him of bodily abuse. Schneiderman had succeeded Cuomo as legal professional normal.
Cuomo’s resignation got here 5 months after the harassment allegations towards 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 broadly praised and he was given a profitable e-book deal to put in writing 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 working mate for Biden or a possible legal professional normal 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 normal and as secretary of Housing and City Improvement within the Clinton administration.
Cuomo has three daughters together with his ex-wife, Kerry Kennedy, whose personal father, Robert Kennedy, served as U.S. legal professional normal beneath his brother President John Kennedy and was assassinated whereas working for president in 1968.
Cuomo turned 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 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 opinions, had been fodder for late-night comedians and supplied grist for criticism from media ethicists.
The governor’s press conferences had 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 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 together with his personal social gathering
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 whole 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 cellphone name to his residence and threatened to “destroy” him over Kim’s criticism concerning the lack of disclosure on Covid-related demise 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 towards us” by federal prosecutors beneath the command of Trump’s legal professional normal, 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 trade six years in the past.
New York Metropolis Mayor Invoice de Blasio, who himself has lengthy been a whipping boy for the governor, known as the cellphone name “traditional Andrew Cuomo.”
“Lots of people in New York state have obtained these cellphone 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 approach. 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 folks 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.