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Embattled New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his intention to resign on Tuesday, in the wake of the New York attorney general’s report concluding that he sexually harassed at least eleven women in violation of state and federal laws.
Cuomo had faced multiple calls for his resignation, from Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Nancy Pelosi, and even Joe Biden.
In addition to sexual harassment, Cuomo’s botched response to the COVID pandemic in his state has come under scrutiny, particularly for the cover-up of his deadly nursing home policy. Conservative media outlets had been covering the scandal for several months, but it wasn’t until the New York attorney general’s office released a report earlier this year detailing the cover-up that the issue finally started to get mainstream attention.
Cuomo framed his resignation as a selfless act to keep New York focused on the challenges it faces.
“My instinct is to fight through this controversy because I believe it is politically motivated,” he said. “I believe it is unfair and it is untruthful. If I could communicate the facts through the frenzy, New Yorkers would understand,” he continued. “I believe that.”
Cuomo then said that he has to serve the bests interests of New York. “This situation, by its current trajectory, will generate months of political and legal controversy. That is what is going to happen,” he acknowledged. “That is how the political wind is blowing.” He listed other priorities the state needs to be focused on, including “time and money the government should spend managing COVID, guarding against the Delta variant, reopening the state, fighting gun violence and saving New York City.”
“All that time would be wasted,” Cuomo said. Citing the “life and death” scenario of government functioning without distraction, Cuomo claimed that he didn’t want to be the cause of that distraction.
“New York-tough means New York-loving, and I love New York and I love you,” Cuomo said, “I would never want to be unhelpful in any way, and I think given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let the government get back to governing, and therefore, that’s what I’ll do.”
Cuomo maintained his innocence throughout his public statement, even citing the “hurt” the accusations have caused him because his daughters had to hear them.
“I want them to know from the bottom of my heart that I never did and never would intentionally disrespect a woman,” Cuomo said. “Or treat any woman differently than how I would want them treated.”
“And that is God’s honest truth,” he claimed. “Your dad made mistakes, and he apologized. And he learned from it, and that’s what life is all about.”
Cuomo’s resignation will take effect in 14 days.