Bowing to pressure over allegations of sexually harassing or abusing 11 women, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has taken to the path of honour by resigning from office.
Before quitting, Cuomo, in a midday broadcast to the people, apologized to the 11 women.
“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 will do,” Cuomo said.
He said the resignation will take effect in two weeks.
Persecondnews recalls that President Joe Biden had asked Cuomo to resign.
It was a pathetic end to his political career, almost a year after he was hailed for his leadership during the darkest days of COVID-19.
Cuomo, a Democrat who had served since 2011 as governor of the fourth most-populous U.S. state, resigned following the damning report released by New York Attorney General Letitia James on Aug. 3.
The report was the result of a five-month independent investigation that concluded he had engaged in conduct that violated U.S. and state laws.
In his 20-minute address, Cuomo again denied any wrongdoing, though he said he accepted “full responsibility” for offending the women through what he characterized as ill-conceived attempts to be affectionate or humorous.
He said he had concluded that fighting the accusations while remaining in office would paralyze state government and cost taxpayers millions of dollars at a time when the coronavirus pandemic still poses a major threat.
“I think, 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,” he said.
He then added that his resignation would take effect in 14 days.
The investigation, detailed in a 168-page report, found that Cuomo groped, kissed or made suggestive comments to women including current and former government workers – one a state trooper.
New York Governor Cuomo says not resigning after damning report
He was also accused of retaliating against at least one woman who accused him of sexual misconduct.
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat from western New York, will take over as governor of the state of more than 19 million people until the end of Cuomo’s term in December 2022 as outlined in the state’s constitution, becoming the first woman to hold the post.
Cuomo’s resignation marks the second time in 13 years that a New York governor has stepped down in scandal, after Eliot Spitzer quit in 2008 over his patronage of prostitutes.
Cuomo also became the latest powerful man taken down in recent years following the rise of the #MeToo social movement against sexual abuse and harassment that has shaken politics, Hollywood, the business world and the workplace.
His resignation spared Cuomo from possible removal from office through impeachment proceedings in the state legislature.
An ongoing impeachment investigation had only promised to intensify.
Cuomo, 63, was elected to three terms as governor, as was his late father, Mario Cuomo.
He previously served as U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development secretary from 1997 to 2001 under former President Bill Clinton.
Like his father, Andrew Cuomo never ran for president despite speculation about his possible ambitions.
Cuomo had for months denied mounting allegations of sexual harassment – and renewed those denials after the investigative report was issued.
But what was left of his political support crumbled after the findings were made public.
Hours later, Biden – a friend of the governor for years – told reporters at the White House: “I think he should resign.”
Other prominent Democrats including the state’s two U.S. senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi also lined up in calling on the party’s one-time star to resign.