New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says he’ll resign from his post in two weeks. The 56th governor of the state will hand the reins over to his deputy, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul. Cuomo’s announcement that he will resign came one week after an investigation overseen by the state’s attorney general Letitia James, whose office’s report concluded he sexually harassed 11 women.
“The best way I can help is if I step aside and let government get back to the governing,” the Democratic governor said in remarks from the state capital of Albany on Tuesday (August 10), according to NPR.
“This transition must be seamless,” Cuomo, 63, said of Hochul replacing him. “She can come up to speed quickly.”
In a statement James thanked Cuomo for his work during his three terms in office and praised Hochul.
“Today closes a sad chapter for all of New York, but it’s an important step towards justice,” said James. “I thank Governor Cuomo for his contributions to our state. The ascension of our Lieutenant Governor, Kathy Hochul, will help New York enter a new day. We must continue to build on the progress already made and improve the lives of New Yorkers in every corner of the state. I know our state is in good hands with Lieutenant Governor Hochul at the helm, and I look forward to continuing to work with her.”
A 165-page report released last week followed a five month investigation into Cuomo’s actions and outlined what James called violations of both federal and state law. The findings by prosecutors include allegations of unwanted and nonconsensual touching and sexual comments by Cuomo.
“This is a sad day for New York because independent investigators have concluded that Governor Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women and, in doing so, broke the law,” James said after the report was released. “No man – no matter how powerful – can be allowed to harass women or violate our human rights.”
James, the first African American and woman attorney general in New York history, was supported by Cuomo in her campaign, and It was Cuomo who referred the matter to James’ office. Opponents argued her proximity to the governor would compromise her integrity, so she appointed independent investigators and oversaw their work. After the release of the findings, James said the state “had an obligation to protect women in their workplace.”
Since February, at least seven women have come forward and recounted unwelcome interactions with the governor, including several former aides.
During his remarks on Tuesday, Cuomo said he sees “the world through the eyes of my daughters” and that “I want them to know” that I never did “intentionally disrespect” a woman.
“Your dad made mistakes, and he apologized,” Cuomo added.
Cuomo was also facing impeachment, and if convicted, lawmakers could have barred him from ever running again for statewide office. By resigning, he preserves the ability to run. It’s unclear how the Assembly will proceed on impeachment.
Hochul, who tweeted that Cuomo’s resignation “is the right thing to do” on Tuesday, will become New York’s first female governor and said she’s “prepared to lead” as the state’s 57th Governor.