New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday that he will resign amid an impeachment investigation into sexual harassment and abuse of power allegations, The New York Times reports.
Cuomo in his first public statements since he defended himself against New York Attorney General Letitia James’ report detailing sexual harassment and misconduct allegations from 11 women insisted again that he was innocent but said he would step down in 14 days.
The press conference began with his lawyer defending him against allegations detailed by James and Cuomo himself remained defiant, alleging “bias” in the investigation. But Cuomo apologized for how he made women feel, arguing that he did not realize “the extent to which the line has been redrawn.”
Cuomo argued that the allegations are “politically motivated” but acknowledged that the political situation had become untenable.
“This situation by its current trajectory will generate months of political and legal controversy,” Cuomo said. “It will consume government.”
“It’s not about me, it’s about we,” Cuomo said, announcing his resignation will be effective in 14 days.
The announcement marked a major turnaround for a political fighter who vowed to stay on and defend himself against a likely impeachment. The governor, despite mounting scandals, was still expected to run for a fourth term, which he still might.
“Your dad made mistakes and he apologized and he learned from it and that is what life is all about,” Cuomo said, addressing his daughters.
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who ran on Cuomo’s ticket but has largely been shut out by his administration, will take over as governor, becoming the first woman to lead the state.
Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou, a sexual assault survivor, said Cuomo’s comments were “horrific” and accused him of trying to gaslight the “women he hurt.”
Jay Jacobs, the chairman of the state Democratic Party, congratulated Hochul. Despite being one of Cuomo’s top allies, he joined calls for him to resign last week.
“My clients feel both vindicated and relieved that Cuomo will no longer be in a position of power over anyone,” said attorney Mariann Wang, who represents two of Cuomo’s accusers.