Andrew Cuomo, the governor of the state of New York, introduced his resignation Tuesday over a barrage of sexual harassment allegations in a fall from grace a yr after he was extensively hailed nationally for his detailed each day briefings and management throughout a few of the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a televised tackle, the 63-year-old Democrat emphatically denied deliberately displaying any disrespect towards ladies however mentioned that preventing again in opposition to what he referred to as the “politically motivated” assault on him would topic the state to months of turmoil, and “I can’t be the reason for that.”
“One of the simplest ways I can assist now’s if I step apart and let authorities get again to governing,” Cuomo mentioned.
The third-term governor’s determination, which is able to take impact in two weeks, was introduced as momentum constructed within the Legislature to take away him by impeachment and after almost the whole Democratic institution had turned in opposition to him, with President Joe Biden becoming a member of these calling on him to resign.
The transfer got here every week after New York’s lawyer common launched the outcomes of an investigation that discovered Cuomo sexually harassed a minimum of 11 ladies.
Investigators mentioned he subjected ladies to undesirable kisses; groped their breasts or buttocks or in any other case touched them inappropriately; made insinuating remarks about their appears and their intercourse lives; and created a piece setting “rife with worry and intimidation.”
‘Proper factor to do’
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, a 62-year-old Democrat and former member of Congress from the Buffalo space, will change into the state’s 57th governor and the primary girl to carry the publish.
“I agree with Governor Cuomo’s determination to step down. It’s the proper factor to do and in the most effective curiosity of New Yorkers,” Hochul tweeted.
The #MeToo-era scandal lower quick not only a profession however a dynasty: Cuomo’s father, Mario Cuomo, was governor within the Eighties and ’90s, and the youthful Cuomo was usually talked about as a possible candidate for president, an workplace his father famously contemplated in search of. Even because the scandal mushroomed, Cuomo was planning to run for reelection in 2022.
Cuomo should face the potential of felony expenses, with quite a few prosecutors across the state transferring to analyze him. At the very least one in all his accusers has filed a felony grievance in opposition to him.
The string of accusations that spelled the governor’s downfall started in information studies final December and went on for months.
Because the scandal grew, Cuomo referred to as a few of the allegations fabricated, forcefully denying he touched anybody inappropriately. However he acknowledged making some aides uncomfortable with feedback he mentioned he supposed as playful, and he apologised for a few of his habits.
He portrayed a few of the encounters as misunderstandings attributable to “generational or cultural” variations, a reference partially to his upbringing in an affectionate Italian American household.
As a defiant Cuomo clung to workplace, state lawmakers launched an impeachment investigation, and his allies abandoned him — not solely over the accusations, but in addition due to the invention that his administration had hid 1000’s of COVID-19 deaths amongst nursing dwelling sufferers.
The harassment investigation ordered up by the lawyer common and performed by two outdoors attorneys corroborated the ladies’s accounts and added lurid new ones. Investigators additionally mentioned the governor’s employees retaliated in opposition to one in all his accusers by leaking confidential personnel recordsdata about her.
Homosexual marriage, minimal wage and #MeToo
As governor, Cuomo touted himself for instance of a “progressive Democrat” who will get issues carried out: Since taking workplace in 2011, he helped push by way of laws that legalised homosexual marriage, started lifting the minimal wage to $15 (€12.80) and expanded paid household go away advantages. He additionally backed large infrastructure tasks, together with development of a brand new bridge over the Hudson River that he named after his father.
On the identical time the behaviour that acquired him into bother was occurring, he was publicly championing the #MeToo motion and surrounding himself with ladies’s rights activists. He signed into regulation sweeping new protections in opposition to sexual harassment and lengthened the statute of limitations in rape circumstances.
His nationwide reputation soared through the harrowing spring of 2020, when New York grew to become the epicenter of the nation’s coronavirus outbreak.
His tough-minded however compassionate response made for riveting tv effectively past New York, and his stern warnings to folks to remain dwelling and put on masks stood in sharp distinction to President Donald Trump’s brush-off of the virus. His briefings gained a world Emmy Award, and he went on to write down a ebook on management in a disaster.
However even these accomplishments had been quickly tainted when it was discovered that the state’s official depend of nursing dwelling deaths had excluded many sufferers who had been transferred to hospitals earlier than they succumbed. A Cuomo aide acknowledged the administration feared the true numbers could be “used in opposition to us” by the Trump White Home.
Additionally, Cuomo’s administration was fiercely criticised for forcing nursing houses to just accept sufferers recovering from the virus.
The U.S. Justice Division is investigating the state’s dealing with of information on nursing dwelling deaths. As well as, the state lawyer common is trying into whether or not Cuomo broke the regulation in utilizing members of his employees to assist write and promote his ebook, from which he stood to make greater than $5 million (€4.3 million).
‘Your dad made errors’
The governor had additionally more and more come below hearth over his tough and generally vindictive remedy of fellow politicians and his personal employees, with former aides telling tales of a brutal work setting.
Cuomo has been divorced since 2005 from the creator and activist Kerry Kennedy, a member of the Kennedy household, and was romantically concerned up till 2019 with TV life-style character Sandra Lee. He has three grownup daughters.
Throughout his resignation speech, he instantly addressed his daughters, saying: “I need them to know, from the underside of my coronary heart: I by no means did, and I by no means would, deliberately disrespect a girl or deal with a girl in another way than I might need them handled. Your dad made errors. And he apologised. And he discovered from it. And that’s what life is all about.”
Cuomo gained political expertise early on as his father’s hard-nosed and infrequently ruthless marketing campaign supervisor, and went on to change into New York lawyer common and U.S. housing secretary below President Invoice Clinton earlier than getting elected governor in 2010.
New York has seen a string of high-level political figures introduced down in shame in recent times.
Gov. Eliot Spitzer resigned in 2008 in a prostitution scandal. Rep. Anthony Weiner went to jail for sexting with a 15-year-old lady. Legal professional Basic Eric Schneiderman stepped down in 2018 after 4 ladies accused him of abuse. And the highest two leaders within the Legislature had been convicted of corruption.