Cuomo, facing intense pressure to resign, announces he will leave office in 2 weeks
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today he will be resigning as governor, effective in two weeks.
Cuomo has faced increasing calls for his resignation, including from President Joe Biden, due to sexual harassment allegations.
Those allegations were confirmed in a report and investigation released last week by Attorney General Leticia James who cited a pattern of sexual harassment from Cuomo and a “toxic environment” within the Executive Chamber.
Cuomo today “deeply apologized” for offending 11 women who brought forward accusations against the governor.
Cuomo said he didn’t intend to make anyone uncomfortable or to sexually harass anyone. He cited a change in cultural norms that is no longer acceptable.
“I have slipped and called people honey, sweetheart and darling,” he said. “I meant it to be endearing. But women found it dated and offensive.”
Cuomo said there is “bias” in report and he was denied due process. His instinct is to fight it, but he doesn’t want to embroil the state government for months with the issue.
“I take full responsibility for my actions,” Cuomo said. “I have been too familiar with people. My sense of humor can be insensitive and off-putting. I do hug and kiss people casually, women and men. I have done it all my life. It’s who I’ve been since I can remember. In my mind I have never crossed the line with anyone. But I didn’t realize the extent to which the line has been redrawn. There are generational and cultural shifts that I just didn’t fully appreciate and I should have. No excuses.”
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will take over as governor in two weeks. Hochul is very familiar to Orleans County. She has made frequent stops to the area in her role as lieutenant governor. She also represented the area briefly in Congress.
Cuomo said she is “smart and competent” and can get “up to speed quickly” in leading the state government.
Cuomo said he was proud to lead the state in passing the SAFE Act, raise the minimum wage to $15, legalize same-sex marriage and fight Covid-19.
He said the current environment, of going after people and demanding their ouster without due process, is unsustainable for the democracy.
“This is about politics and our political system today is too often driven by the extremes,” he said. “Rashness has replaced reasonableness. Loudness has replaced soundness.”