Andrew Cuomo resigns as governor of New York
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday that he will resign from his post, effective in 14 days, after an independent investigation found that he sexually harassed multiple women in violation of federal and state law.
What he's saying: "I would never want to be unhelpful in any way. And 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's what I'll do, because I work for you, and doing the right thing is doing the right thing for you," Cuomo said in televised remarks.
- Cuomo on Tuesday again denied any wrongdoing, framing his resignation as a necessary step given the impeachment proceedings he is facing over the sexual harassment allegations.
- "It is a matter of life and death. Government operations and wasting energy on distraction is the last thing government should be," Cuomo said. "I cannot be the cause. New York tough means New York loving. And I love New York and I love you."
Why it matters: Cuomo previously resisted calls to resign from nearly every prominent Democrat in the country, but the situation soon became untenable with the damning conclusions of the investigation published last week.
How we got here: Cuomo was a Democratic star during the early stages of the pandemic — steering his state's response to its severe wave of COVID-19 last spring. But his fall from grace came quick.
- Beginning in December, 11 women accused Cuomo of inappropriate behavior, including unwanted kissing, groping, invites to play strip poker and unsolicited comments about their sex lives. A majority of the women had worked with or for the governor.
- Cuomo in early March apologized for if he made any women "uncomfortable," but insisted that he has "never touched anyone inappropriately" and that he would not resign.
Cuomo ultimately asked New York Attorney General Letitia James to oversee an independent investigation into the issue.
- James said last week that the investigation found that Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, including employees in his office, in violation of state and federal law.
- "Specifically, the investigation found that Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed current and former state employees by engaging in unwelcome and nonconsensual touching, and making numerous offensive comments of a suggestive and sexual nature that created a hostile work environment for women," James said.
- Cuomo and his staff also took steps to retaliate against at least one former employee for coming forward with her story, and fostered a "toxic" workplace that enabled sexual harassment to occur, the report found.
The big picture: Cuomo faced mounting calls to resign from within his own party even before the sexual misconduct investigation had concluded.
- Those calls included more than two-thirds of congressional Democrats from New York and a majority of the New York State Assembly, which has the power to impeach the governor.
- President Biden had resisted calling for Cuomo to resign when the allegations first emerged, but changed his position and called on the governor to step down after the results of the investigation.
- The New York State Assembly had also launched its own impeachment proceedings, and multiple local prosecutors have opened criminal investigations. It's unclear if the impeachment proceedings will continue.
Between the lines: The accusations against Cuomo coincided with an ongoing scandal surrounding the Cuomo administration's attempts to cover up the total of nursing home coronavirus deaths in the state.
- James released a report in January alleging that the administration undercounted coronavirus deaths in nursing homes by as much as 50%.
What's next: Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will be sworn in to Cuomo's position and will serve out his term until the 2022 midterms. She will be the state's first female governor.
- Cuomo was currently in his third term and would have been eligible to seek a fourth.
- He is the son of Mario Cuomo, who also served as governor of New York for three terms, and the brother of CNN anchor Chris Cuomo.