New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation effective in 14 days. His resignation comes just 8 days after the state’s Attorney General, Letitia James, announced he had violated both state and federal laws due to multiple sexual harassment charges documented in the 168-page report released on Aug. 3. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will replace Cuomo and is the first female in the state’s history to occupy the position of Governor.
During his announcement, Cuomo stated that “the most serious allegations against [him] had no credible or factual basis in the report…this is not to say that there are not 11 women who I truly offended, there are. And for that, I deeply, deeply apologize. In my mind,” he continued, “I have never crossed the line with anyone.”
Cuomo’s stated that the reasons for his resignation had more to do with politics and protracted litigation involving taxpayer time and money.
“Obviously, in a highly political matter like this, there are many agendas, and there are many motivations at play. If anyone thought otherwise, they would be naive. And New Yorkers are not naive. I truly believe it is politically motivated. I believe it is unfair and it is untruthful, and I believe it demonizes behavior that is unsustainable for society. If I could communicate the facts through the frenzy, New Yorkers would understand. I believe that.”
“But when I took my oath as governor, then it changed. I became a fighter, but I became a fighter for you, and it is your best interest that I must serve. This situation, by its current trajectory, will generate months of political and legal controversy. That is what is going to happen. That is how the political wind is blowing. It will consume government. It will cost taxpayers millions of dollars. It will brutalize people. This state assembly yesterday outlined weeks of process that will then lead to months of litigation—time and money that government should spend managing COVID, guarding against the delta variant, reopening upstate, fighting gun violence, and saving New York City. All that time would be wasted.”
The State Assembly Judiciary Committee was scheduled to meet Tuesday morning to decide on possible Articles of Impeachment and trial. Cuomo’s full announcement can be heard below:
His resignation comes on the heels of the resignation on Monday of one of his top aides, Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa, as of 2017. DeRosa had been with Cuomo since 2013 and was one of his most loyal and trusted confidantes. She released a short letter of resignation, captured below:
Per the report, DeRosa had tried to do damage control for the Governor regarding the harassment claims. Over time, however, there was increased tension between the two. At one point, the report describes a time when she angrily got out of the car at a stoplight because of his behavior with his accusers.
“She told the governor, ‘I can’t believe that this happened. I can’t believe you put yourself in a situation where you would be having any version of this conversation’.”
In the report, Brittany Commisso, known as Executive Assistant Number 1, is the first to file a criminal complaint. In this week’s CBS News interview, she described her experience with the Governor:
“To me, this was a dream job and, unfortunately, it turned into a nightmare. I noticed I was being called to the mansion more. I took it as a sign I was doing a good job. I didn’t say anything. I didn’t say anything this whole time. It wasn’t going to be him that was going to be in trouble; it was going to be me. This was my dream job. This was something that I had worked so hard for. And I just thought, if I have to sit here and take it and keep my mouth shut, then that’s what I’m going to do.”
“I would like to see the Governor held accountable,” Commisso continued, “Because he has gotten away with so much for so long.”
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, 62, has served in her post since 2015. The upstate politician is known by many as a centrist Democrat. She indicated agreement with his decision to resign, stating:
“I agree with Governor Cuomo’s decision to step down. It is the right thing to do and in the best interest of New Yorkers. As someone who has served at all levels of government and is next in the line of succession, I am prepared to lead as New York State’s 57th Governor.”
Earlier this month, she weighed in on the allegations against Cuomo:
No one is above the law. Under the New York Constitution, the Assembly will now determine the next steps.
Because Lieutenant Governors stand next in the line of succession, it would not be appropriate to comment further on the process at this moment. 2/2
— Kathy Hochul (@LtGovHochulNY) August 3, 2021
Many high-ranking officials, including President Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have called for his resignation since the Aug. 3rd AG report.