Andrew Cuomo resigns as governor of New York amid sexual harassment claims

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo (pictured), New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont (screen) yon June 24, 2020. | Flickr/Governor Andrew Cuomo

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced his resignation following credible allegations of sexual harassment and questions over his placing COVID-19 positive individuals in nursing homes.

At a televised address that was held on Tuesday, Cuomo maintained his innocence regarding the allegations, yet also said he was going to step down as governor to avoid further partisan turmoil.

“The best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing,” said Cuomo. 

The three-term Democratic governor, who was facing a possible impeachment over his multiple scandals, noted that his resignation would be effective in two weeks.

Cuomo’s decision to resign came one week after the release of a report from an independent investigation that found that Cuomo had sexually harassed multiple women.

“We, the investigators appointed to conduct an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, conclude that the Governor engaged in conduct constituting sexual harassment under federal and New York State law,” stated the Executive Summary of the report.

“Specifically, we find that the Governor sexually harassed a number of current and former New York State employees by, among other things, engaging in unwelcome and nonconsensual touching, as well as making numerous offensive comments of a suggestive and sexual nature that created a hostile work environment for women.”

In response to the findings of the report, New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement that she found the revelations of abuse to be “a sad day” for the Empire State.

“I am grateful to all the women who came forward to tell their stories in painstaking detail, enabling investigators to get to the truth,” stated James. “No man — no matter how powerful — can be allowed to harass women or violate our human rights laws, period.”

Many prominent Democrats and Republicans had called for Cuomo to resign, including President Joe Biden, who stated his belief that Cuomo should step aside at a press conference last week.

Additionally, Cuomo had come under criticism for how his administration handled the coronavirus pandemic, especially the decision to place COVID-19 positive people within nursing homes, possibly resulting in thousands of deaths.

In February, the New York Post had reported that Cuomo’s top aide Melissa DeRosa had admitted during a video conference call with state Democratic leaders that the administration had hidden the negative impact of the nursing home situation.

“We were in a position where we weren’t sure if what we were going to give to the Department of Justice, or what we give to you guys, and what we start saying, was going to be used against us and we weren’t sure if there was going to be an investigation,” said DeRosa.

Had Cuomo not decided to resign, he was likely going to face impeachment proceedings, which had been championed by state Republican lawmakers going as far back as March.

New York State Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay explained at a press conference held earlier this year that “the time has come” to hold Cuomo accountable.

“In order to lead this great state as governor, you need to have credibility and trust,” stated Barclay. “Unfortunately, we feel the governor has lost that and now has an inability to lead.”

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