New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation today in the aftermath of a blistering report from the New York State Attorney General Letitia James regarding his alleged sexual harassment of nearly a dozen women.
The resignation comes after Gov. Cuomo faced new and increasingly adamant calls to step down from state and national Democrats, as well as President Joe Biden. Late Sunday, Melissa DeRosa, Gov. Cuomo’s top aide — and one of his fiercest defenders and strategists — stepped down from her post.
In announcing his resignation, Gov. Cuomo said that, although his initial instinct was to fight through this controversy, the situation — on its current trajectory — would create months of controversy, consume government and cost taxpayers millions of dollars.
Cuomo underscored that the time and money that would be spent on months of litigation should instead be put toward managing COVID, guarding against the delta variant, reopening up states, fighting gun violence and saving New York City.
“Given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing,” Gov. Cuomo said.
Gov. Cuomo’s resignation will take effect in 14 days, when he will hand over the reins to his deputy Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul.
“The resignation of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo was necessary to allow state governance to proceed, and I am grateful for this decision,” New York State Senator Pete Harckham (D-40) said in a prepared statement. “Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will lead New York State admirably, and I wish her the best in the months ahead.”
Lt. Gov. Hochul will be the first woman to hold the role of governor in New York’s 233-year history.
Westchester County Executive George Latimer said in a statement that for years, incoming Governor Hochul has been a welcome presence in the county.
“She is well qualified to lead New York State in this immediate crisis,” Latimer said. “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.”
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-35) said in an official statement that, while today is a somber day for New York, Gov. Cuomo’s resignation demonstrates the state’s ability to build a more accountable system of government.
“Governor Cuomo’s resignation opens the door to a restorative future,” Stewart-Cousins said. “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 work spaces.”
Stewart-Cousins went on in her statement to say that she looks forward to working together with Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul.
“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,” Stewart-Cousins said. “Governor Hochul is a dedicated leader, and united, we will get the people’s work done.”
Assembly Member Amy Paulin (D-88) echoed Stewart-Cousins’ sentiment in her statement.
“Governor Cuomo’s decision to resign is for the good of New York,” Assembly Member Paulin said. “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,” Paulin said.
Assembly Member Chris Burdick (D-93) shared in a statement that he has full confidence in Hochul’s capabilities to move New York forward.
“This is a sad turn of events for our state, but I am relieved that the Governor has recognized that the needs of New Yorkers must come first,” Burdick said. “I have great confidence in Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and know New York will be in capable hands as she leads our state through this difficult period.”
White Plains Mayor Tom Roach said that he has worked with Lt. Gov Hochul throughout her tenure and has 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,” Roach said in his statement on Gov. Cuomo’s resignation. “Our state will be in good hands under her leadership.”
Last week, Westchester County District Attorney Mimi Rocah formally requested “investigative materials” from James’ office, after recent reports claim that Gov. Cuomo sexually harassed a state trooper while in the county jurisdiction.
This story is breaking and will be updated as developments come in.