New York Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned on Tuesday after a damning, wide-ranging report issued by the state’s attorney general last week found that he sexually harassed multiple women, violating state and federal law.
Cuomo said that his resignation will go into effect in 14 days. He will be replaced by Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who will become the first woman to govern the state, and will serve until the next gubernatorial elections scheduled for late next year.
In a press conference, the embattled governor remained defiant against the allegations of sexual harassment, claiming that the investigation was biased. “My instinct is to fight through this controversy,” he said, “because I truly believe it is politically motivated.”
But while he denied any wrongdoing, Cuomo acknowledged that the fallout from the scandal left him without any choice but to step down. “Given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is to step aside and let government get back to governing,” he said.
The powerful third-term Democrat had spent the last week railing against the investigation and preparing for a protracted legal fight, sending out his personal attorney to defend his actions, even as evidence emerged that he had used his office to retaliate against his victims. In a recorded video, Cuomo also attempted to characterize himself as an advocate for women, and in Trumpian form, claimed that his actions had been repeatedly misunderstood by his accusers.
Since the report was released exactly one week ago, Cuomo quickly found himself facing the threat of impeachment after virtually all Democrats in the state, not to mention President Joe Biden himself, called for his resignation. The White House on Tuesday said that they had not received a heads up on Cuomo’s decision before his televised announcement.
“Our view is that this is a story about these courageous women who came forward, told their stories, shared their stories,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.
Watch a clip from Cuomo’s announcement:
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces his resignation.
"The best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing."
— Mother Jones (@MotherJones) August 10, 2021
This is a breaking news post. We’ll update as more information becomes available.