Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday he is resigning from office.
The decision by the three-term Democrat came one week after state Attorney General Letitia James unveiled the findings of a five-month inquiry into allegations of sexual misconduct by the governor, concluding he sexually harassed 11 women. The resignation, which will take effect in two weeks, elevates Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Buffalo-area Democrat, to the state’s top chief executive.
Cuomo had initially been defiant in response to the extensive report from the attorney general’s office, but he found himself without any of his key supporters, an emboldened impeachment investigation and a loss of support among New York voters. His departure came less than two days after the governor’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, announced she was leaving the administration.
Tuesday’s announcement from the governor came immediately after his outside counsel, Rita Glavin, presented a rebuttal of the attorney general’s findings into his conduct. During her 45-minute presentation, she argued that the governor hadn’t gotten a fair shake from the attorney general’s investigators and was being denied an opportunity to present a comprehensive defense to the Assembly impeachment investigation.
Cuomo acknowledged Tuesday, as he has before, that he never intended to make people uncomfortable with his conduct, but acknowledged that his perception of what was appropriate hadn’t kept up with the culture. In 2019, the governor signed sweeping new anti-sexual harassment legislation.
In response to the announcement, Sen. James Skoufis, a Hudson Valley Democrat and frequent critic of the governor, said Cuomo’s decision was a necessary first step in New York’s “long road to healing.”
“While I wish the decision had been made much, much sooner, I welcome this opportunity to turn the page on Cuomo’s documented patterns of abuse, harassment, and bullying, and I applaud the brave women who came forward to demand change,” Skoufis said in a statement.