New York Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned Tuesday after the state attorney general found that he allegedly sexually assaulted 11 women.
The resignation will take effect in two weeks, as the governor is in the midst of his third term.
“I think given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing,” Cuomo said Tuesday. “Thank you for the honor of serving you. It has been the honor of my lifetime.”
The attorney general released the 165-page investigation report on August 3, and while Cuomo denied any wrongdoing, the results led the New York state legislature to call for impeachment, while President Joe Biden flatly said, “I think he should resign.”
Among the investigation’s findings, the attorney general said Cuomo kissed, groped, and made sexual remarks to the women.
“… we find that the Governor sexually harassed a number of current and former New York State employees by, among other things, engaging in unwelcome and nonconsensual touching, as well as making numerous offensive comments of a suggestive and sexual nature that created a hostile work environment for women,” the report summary read. “We also conclude that the Executive Chamber’s culture — one filled with fear and intimidation, while at the same time normalizing the Governor’s frequent flirtations and gender-based comments — contributed to the conditions that allowed the sexual harassment to occur and persist.”
Cuomo again denied some of the allegations Tuesday, but apologized for others, saying the things he did were meant as “endearment.”
“I thought a hug and putting my arm around a staff person while taking a picture was friendly, but she found it to be too forward,” Cuomo said. “I kissed a woman on the cheek at a wedding and I thought I was being nice, but she felt that it was too aggressive… I take full responsibility for my actions. I have been too familiar with people.”
Upon Cuomo’s departure, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will become the state’s 57th governor and the first woman to hold the post.
“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,” Hochul said through Twitter on Tuesday. “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.” ❖