It seemed to only be a question of time, but New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has resigned. He will be replaced by Kathy Hochul, who’ll be making history as the first female governor of the state. Following a series of unfortunate calls to sexually harass 11 women across his stellar political career that spanned all of 4 decades, the Andrew Cuomo effect is certainly gone with the wind.
Once a rising star of the Democratic establishment who might have made a solid run for the White House, Cuomo’s train ground to a halt one week after New York Attorney General Letitia James released the damning report of a five-month independent investigation that showed the Governor had violated US and state laws.
While Mr. Cuomo is coming to terms with his tumultuous fall from the precipitous heights of US politics, he remains defiant that he’s done nothing wrong. He, instead, accepted “full responsibility” for what he described as mistaken attempts to be affectionate or humorous. His 20-minute televised address would do little for his battered persona, but it provides rare glimpses into the man who has held sway over New York since 2011.
The 63-year-old said, “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.”
Democratic allies in the state legislature had mostly turned their backs on him, and with impeachment proceedings looming, Cuomo’s resignation might well be his last masterstroke as he prepares for life on the sidelines.
Cuomo had groped, kissed, or used suggestive language while relating to women during his time in office. Current and former government workers, including a state trooper had shared corroborating accounts of their experience at the hands of Cuomo. It’s worse that he retaliated against at least one woman who accused him of sexual indiscretion.
Sixty-two-year-old Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul only has two weeks before she takes the rein as governor of New York’s 19 million residents until Cuomo’s term ends in December 2022. Cuomo’s downfall has earned her the milestone of becoming the first woman to do so.