Democrat Andrew Cuomo has resigned as the governor of New York, saying he did so out of “love” of the state and the need for government to function in a time of “life and death.”
Cuomo announced his resignation at noon on Tuesday. It will go into effect in two weeks. He will be replaced by Lieutenant-governor Kathy Hochul, 62, a fellow Democrat and former member of Congress.
“The best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing,” Cuomo said, adding, “It’s not about me, it’s about we.”
Cuomo’s exit comes amid talk from the state legislature about impeaching him, following the report by the state attorney general concluding that he was in fact responsible for sexually harassing multiple women, including members of his staff and protective detail – but not pressing any criminal charges. One of the accusers filed the first civil complaint against the governor last week.
While Cuomo held on, apologizing if his behavior offended anyone but refusing to admit any wrongdoing, his top aide Melissa DeRosa resigned citing the “emotionally and mentally trying” past two years. So did Roberta Kaplan, chair of the advocacy group Time’s Up – which fights sexual harassment, but helped Cuomo attack one of his accusers.
Just a year ago, Cuomo was basking in the praise of corporate media, Democrats and the US cultural and political establishment, publishing a book on pandemic “leadership” and winning an Emmy for his televised Covid-19 briefings. He shrugged off criticism that his executive orders led to thousands of elderly dying in state nursing homes, and that New York had one of the highest Covid-19 death tolls in the US.
A three-term governor of New York, Cuomo was following in the footsteps of father Mario, who helmed the state for over a decade.
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