Aug. 10, 2021 By Allie Griffin
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation Tuesday, a week after a scathing report was released by the New York Attorney General that concluded that he sexually harassed almost a dozen women.
Cuomo, who is facing an impeachment inquiry, said his resignation will take effect in 14 days — at which point Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will take the reins and become New York’s first woman governor.
“I think that given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing and therefore, that’s what I’ll do,” Cuomo said in a video broadcast.
Many legislators from the governor’s home borough of Queens had called on him to resign for months. The calls grew louder and more widespread last week after the attorney general’s report validated the sexual harassment accusations that had been made against Cuomo.
Five prosecutors, as well as the Albany sheriff’s office, have started looking into the sexual harassment allegations in the wake of the bombshell report.
The local lawmakers were glad to hear of his resignation Tuesday.
“The threat of impeachment was too big for Andrew Cuomo to bear,” State Senator Jessica Ramos tweeted. “New Yorkers deserve better than a man who has played politics with our lives for a decade & couldn’t see beyond his ego.”
Ramos’ colleague, Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris, said today is a sad, but necessary day in New York’s history.
“The Governor’s resignation is an important step in the process of ensuring accountability and acknowledging the harm done by his behavior,” Gianaris said in a statement. “I thank the women who came forward with such courage to have their voices heard and help make New York a safer, fairer place.”
Assembly Member Zohran Mamdani, meanwhile, said the governor’s resignation should take effect sooner than two weeks.
“14 days is too long,” he tweeted.
Assembly Member Ron Kim — who was the subject of Cuomo’s attacks after he spoke out on the nursing home scandal last year — said today marks a new day in the state government.
“No longer will we be held back by the circus created by Andrew Cuomo and his enablers,” he said in a statement. “Finally, we can return to the people’s work and deliver for our constituents.”
Kim and other elected officials said that the governor’s resignation was not the end of the Cuomo saga. They said that they hope he is held accountable for his actions on several fronts.
For instance, they want to investigators to determine what role Cuomo played in the nursing home deaths and whether he misused state resources when he worked on his book.
“Resignation is not accountability,” Kim said. “We will continue to pursue justice for the 16,000 nursing home families who are reeling from the failures of this administration.”
The federal government is currently investigating whether the Cuomo administration submitted false information on the number of COVID deaths of nursing home residents.
The state attorney general’s office is also conducting an investigation into whether the Cuomo had his staffers work on his book on state-funded time. The investigation is separate from the sexual harassment report that was released last week.
“It has been abundantly clear that Governor Cuomo is unfit to hold the position and his resignation will allow us to finally move forward,” Assembly Member Nily Rozic said in a statement. “It is my hope that investigations into his conduct continue and that his many victims receive the justice and peace of mind they deserve.”
It’s unclear whether the State Assembly will continue with its impeachment inquiry. If state legislators do impeach and convict Cuomo, they would have the option to bar him from state office.
Multiple borough officials thanked the victims of Cuomo’s harassment for bravely coming forward.
“Thank you to all the survivors who came forward. It was not an easy decision to make, but your decision transformed New York’s history for the better,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said. “You are the true heroes of New York State, and Queens continues to support you as you move toward your next steps.”
Many also said they looked forward to working with Hochul.
“There is still work to be done and we will rise to this occasion as we always do in the face of challenging times,” State Senator Joseph Addabbo said in a statement. “With enthusiasm, I look forward to working with Kathy Hochul and her administration.”
Addabbo added that Cuomo “made the correct decision in stepping down from his position.”