New York Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned Tuesday, one week after state Attorney General Letitia James announced her office found he had sexually harassed 11 women. He made the announcement during a midday press conference. His resignation will be effective in two weeks and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will serve the rest of his term, becoming the state’s first female governor.
Cuomo defended himself and his actions before announcing the resignation he said was best for everyone, saying, “In my mind, I never crossed the line with anyone but I didn’t realize the extent to which the line has been redrawn.”
He added, “I think that given the circumstances the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to government, and therefore that is what I’ll do, because I work for you, and doing the right thing, is doing the right thing for you.”
Cuomo, who was facing a possible impeachment, said, “Government operations and wasting energy on distraction is the last thing government should be,. I cannot be the cause. ‘New York tough’ means New York loving and I love New York and I love you. Everything I have ever done has been motivated by that love and I would never want to be unhelpful in any way.”
James said last Tuesday that an independent investigation into Cuomo revealed he sexually harassed multiple women, including staffers.
In harassing these women, James said, Cuomo broke state and federal law as he created “a hostile work environment.” James also announced that her office found Cuomo retaliated against a former employee who accused him of harassment.
The months-long probe began after former staffers spoke out against the Democratic governor earlier this year. He said in March he would not step down and denied any wrongdoing, though he apologized for making any women in his office feel uncomfortable. After James made her announcement, one formerly anonymous aide whose allegations were detailed in the report filed criminal charges. District attorneys in Manhattan and Nassau counties also announced he is facing criminal probes.
Cuomo denied the allegations in a press conference after the investigation findings were released last week.
“First, I want you to know directly from me that I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances,” Cuomo said. “I’ve lived my entire adult life in public view and that is just not who I am.”