New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Tuesday that he will resign as he faces multiple allegations of sexual harassment.
In a lengthy video statement to the state, Cuomo apologized to his accusers but bemoaned a process that he characterized as overly political.
“Given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing,” he said. “And therefore, that is what I will do.”
Kathy Hochul, the state’s lieutenant governor, will take office when his resignation takes effect in 14 days, Cuomo said. Hochul will be the state’s first female governor.
President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, along with numerous other top Democrats, called on Cuomo to step aside last week, when state Attorney General Leticia James released an investigative report outlining allegations from 11 women. One, Brittany Commisso, appeared on CBS This Morning on Monday to detail her claim that Cuomo groped her twice when she was working as an executive assistant.
Although Cuomo initially had a defiant response to the investigative report, declining to step aside, the focus then turned to the State Assembly starting impeachment proceedings.
Cuomo’s resignation is a dramatic fall from grace for an official who, just a year ago, was being lauded for his visibility in the way that he kept the state’s residents up to date on the coronavirus response. His daily updates earned him an International Emmy.
In his statement on Tuesday, Cuomo continued to criticize the investigative report, but he acknowledged making mistakes for some of his statements and apologized to his accusers. But he also provided a defense of his conduct.
The fallout over the allegations against Cuomo has extended to Time’s Up, whose cofounder, Roberta Kaplan, resigned from the organization on Monday, after criticism that she was advising the governor’s administration on its response. And the investigative report highlighted the role that Cuomo’s brother, Chris Cuomo, played in sitting in on the governor’s strategy sessions as the allegations first surfaced earlier this year. Chris Cuomo has not addressed the most recent investigative report on his show, and is on vacation this week. But he apologized in May after his role as an informal adviser to his brother was disclosed.
Cuomo came into office in 2011, succeeding David Patterson. Patterson had assumed office after the resignation of Eliot Spitzer, who resigned after it was revealed that he paid prostitute for sex.
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