BREAKING NEWS: Gov. Cuomo Resigns Effective in 14 Days

BREAKING NEWS: Gov. Cuomo Resigns Effective in 14 Days
From left: Gov. Andrew Cuomo and top aide Melissa DeRosa, who resigned over the weekend. FILE PHOTO

NEW YORK—After his attorney provided a detailed point-by-point rebuttal of allegations by 11 women of improper conduct and sexual harassment, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, somewhat surprisingly, announced he would resign from office effective in 14 days (Aug. 24).

While he said that his instinct is to fight the charges because he felt they were politically motivated, the governor noted the scandal had become a distraction. “Given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing,” the governor said. “And therefore, that’s what I’ll do.” He said that to effectuate a smooth transition, his resignation would take effect in 14 days.

At press time it is not known if the State Assembly will move forward with impeachment proceedings, however, the governor’s announcement ensures he will not complete his third term and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will take over as governor later this month and when sworn in will become the first woman governor in the history of New York State.

He characterized the Lieutenant Governor as “smart and competent” and said the 14 days would be used to facilitate a seamless transition.

State political leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Andrew Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker James Heastie had called for the governor to resign after the release of the 165-page report on the sexual harassment allegations by the New York State Attorney General’s office. U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand have also called for the governor to resign, as had President Joe Biden.

On August 3, New York State Attorney General Letitia James released the report into the multiple allegations of sexual harassment by New York Gov. Cuomo that concluded the governor did sexually harass multiple women—including former and current state employees — by engaging in unwanted groping, kissing, and hugging, and making inappropriate comments. Further, the governor and his senior staff took actions to retaliate against at least one former employee for coming forward with her story. Finally, the Executive Chamber fostered a “toxic” workplace that enabled “harassment to occur and created a hostile work environment.” The investigators find that Governor Cuomo’s actions and those of the Executive Chamber violated multiple state and federal laws, as well as the Executive Chamber’s own written policies.

The governor at the press briefing in New York City apologized if he offended any of the 11 women, but denied touching or engaging in any harassing behavior. He said he resigned in order to “do the right thing” for the people of New York.

“In my mind, I’ve never crossed the line with anyone,” Gov. Cuomo said. However, he added that he has since realized that the lines have been redrawn.

Prior to the press conference, Gov. Cuomo’s personal attorney Rita Glavin in a televised briefing, categorically denied the governor harassed any of the 11 women.

Since the governor’s resignation, a host of federal, state and local officials have released statements:

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer

“I want to commend the brave women who stepped forward and courageously told their stories. There is no place for sexual harassment, and today’s announcement by Governor Cuomo to resign was the right decision for the good of the people of New York. I have full confidence that Lt. Governor Hochul will establish a professional and capable administration. I have spoken with Lt. Governor Hochul and look forward to working together to help the people of New York.”

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

“First and foremost, I want to thank the incredibly courageous women who came forward and shared their stories. They are the true public servants here. New York now has a chance to move forward and build a new culture of leadership. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul is an exceptional public servant and will be an excellent governor. I look forward to working together to continue serving the people of our great state.”

Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul

“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.”

New York State Attorney General Letitia James

“Today closes a sad chapter for all of New York, but it’s an important step towards justice. I thank Governor Cuomo for his contributions to our state. The ascension of our Lieutenant Governor, Kathy Hochul, will help New York enter a new day. We must continue to build on the progress already made and improve the lives of New Yorkers in every corner of the state. I know our state is in good hands with Lieutenant Governor Hochul at the helm, and I look forward to continuing to work with her.”

NY State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

“Today is a somber day for the state of New York, but one that demonstrates our ability to build a more accountable system of government. Governor Cuomo’s resignation opens the door to a restorative future. We all owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the courageous women who came forward and helped pave the way for safer and more inclusive workspaces. Working with Governor Kathy Hochul, the first woman Governor of New York State, we will continue to address the COVID-19 pandemic, rebuild our economy and face our challenges standing together. Governor Hochul is a dedicated leader, and united, we will get the people’s work done.”

NY State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie

“This has been a tragic chapter in our state’s history. Governor Cuomo’s resignation is the right decision. The brave women who stepped forward were heard. Everyone deserves to work in a harassment free environment. I have spoken with Lieutenant Governor Hochul and I look forward to working with her.”

Westchester County Executive George Latimer

“Westchester County, and my administration, stand ready to work with incoming Governor Kathy Hochul when she assumes the governorship later this month. For years, incoming Governor Hochul has been a welcomed presence in Westchester County. She is well qualified to lead New York State in this immediate crisis. Also, for all New Yorkers, let us recognize this historic moment—that New York will for the first time in our history have a female Governor. Times have changed—as they should. We welcome incoming Governor Hochul, and look forward to cooperation between Westchester County and New York State in moving together in the right direction.”

Rockland County Executive Ed Day

“The announcement of Governor Cuomo’s resignation is extremely welcome and long overdue news. It has been clear for some time that the Governor’s abusive and inappropriate behavior is unacceptable and his continued presence in the Governor’s Mansion was an insult to the women he harassed and the people of New York. I look forward to working with Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul as she serves out the remainder of this term and becomes the first woman to serve as Governor of New York. I am hopeful that this change in leadership will serve us well over the next year and a half and allow for real change in Albany so that employees across our state are treated with the respect that each and every one of us deserves.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio

“Make no mistake, this is the result of survivors bravely telling their stories. It was past time for Andrew Cuomo to resign and it’s for the good of all New York.”

Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano

“It is a historic day in our state’s history—we open a new chapter, welcoming New York’s first female Governor. I look forward to working with incoming Governor Kathy Hochul and building on the progress New York has made. Governor Hochul is an experienced leader and should be well equipped to lead New York through the challenges that lay ahead, and working with her, we will champion the issues facing our communities.”

White Plains Mayor Tom Roach

“The conduct of the governor as detailed in the Attorney General’s report has no place in our society, much less at the highest level of government in New York State. His resignation represents an affirmation of the women who bravely spoke up and called out the governor’s behavior. I have worked with Lt. Governor Hochul throughout her tenure and have found her to be smart, dedicated, and tireless. She has traveled the length and breadth of New York, regularly meeting and talking firsthand with residents, business owners, and local government officials on issues of concern to us all. Our state will be in good hands under her leadership.”

State Senator Pete Harckham

“The resignation of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo was necessary to allow state governance to proceed, and I am grateful for this decision. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will lead New York State admirably, and I wish her the best in the months ahead.”

State Assemblymember Amy Paulin

“Governor Cuomo’s decision to resign is for the good of New York. Over the past decade, the work done by Governor Cuomo has in many ways improved the lives of New Yorkers, but the evidence has made it clear that he cannot continue in office. The governor’s resignation is a necessary step that will allow the state government to function effectively, and it sets the precedent that sexual harassment will not be tolerated at any level. This ends a sordid chapter in New York’s history, but I hope it opens a new one, in which people in positions of power finally understand that sexual harassment is not okay and has profound consequences. What Andrew Cuomo did to 11 women is still happening in our society. So, if this resignation leads to more abusers thinking twice, and to more victims deciding to fight back, then New York will be the better for it. I would like to thank the women who came forward and shared their stories. Their bravery will not be forgotten. When she is sworn in, Kathy Hochul will be the first woman to hold the office of Governor of New York. She is capable and prepared to take the position, and I look forward to working with her office to help the people of this state.”

Assemblymember Jonathan Jacobson

“Governor Cuomo’s announcement that he is stepping down is the right one for New York. He no longer has the trust necessary to govern effectively. I have known Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul for many years and have full confidence in her ability to lead the state. I look forward to working with her.”

Assemblymember Mike Lawler

“It’s past due time that Andrew Cuomo resigned from office after 11 years of bullying, thuggery, and now, predatory sexual behavior. His conduct was completely and totally unbecoming of the office of Governor. I’m glad he showed one little moniker of decency by resigning and sparing the people of New York an expensive and prolonged impeachment process. I look forward to working with Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul to serve the people of New York State and Rockland County with dignity, honor and decency.”

Business Council of Westchester

“The Business Council of Westchester has enjoyed a long and successful collaborative working relationship with Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. We have full confidence in her abilities to lead the state and look forward to working with her and her administration. New York State still faces many economic challenges as we continue to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic. We stand ready to work closely with her as she continues to promote economic development, job creation and diversity initiatives in Westchester and across the state.”

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