By Kevin Zhang
Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday he will resign after a blistering report released by the state’s attorney general documented multiple instances of sexual harassment against women.
The decision puts off his almost certain impeachment and conviction in the state Legislature.
“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 is what I’ll do, because I work for you, and doing the right thing, is doing the right thing for you,” said Cuomo in a televised address before refusing to take any questions.
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, another Democrat, will serve the rest of Cuomo’s term after his resignation becomes effective in 14 days, and will become the state’s first female governor.
Though he apologized to his accusers, Cuomo made it clear that he did not believe that he had stepped over a red line that required removal from office. He instead stated that his decision was one necessary to avoid protracted argument and divisiveness within the state’s government that would bring down government efficiency.
“It is a matter of life and death,” he said, referring to the still serious threat of the pandemic. “Government operations and wasting energy on distraction is the last thing government should be. I cannot be the cause. New York tough means New York loving. And I love New York and I love you. Everything I have ever done has been motivated by that love and I would never want to be unhelpful in any way.”
The resignation of Cuomo marks a surprising fall from grace for the governor who was in his third term, and had high approval ratings in polls last year after his public briefings about the coronavirus pandemic in his state, where cases were running high, were well received by the public..
Cuomo had intended to run for a fourth term next year, a feat that his father, who was governor for New York for three years, was unable to accomplish.
“I respect the governor’s decision and I respect the decision he made,” President Joe Biden said after calling on Cuomo to resign. When asked about the impact of Cuomo’s resignation on the Democratic Party, Biden responded, “I think that impact is all on Andrew Cuomo,” and expressed again his respect for Cuomo’s decision.