New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced his resignation on Tuesday, effective in 14 days.
The announcement came during an address Cuomo gave, titled “Gov. Cuomo Addresses the People of NY,” in which he discussed allegations of sexual harassment from several current and former employees, as noted in a recent state attorney general probe.
“The best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing, and therefore, that’s what I’ll do,” Gov. Cuomo said.
Cuomo opened his resignation speech by saying that while people were outraged by news that he sexually harrassed women, he called them “false” and that the “most serious allegations” were not credible. Still, he said there were 11 women who he “truly offended.”
“I thought a hug and putting my arm around a staff person while taking a picture was friendly, but she found it to be too forward,” Cuomo said. “I kissed a woman on the cheek at a wedding and I thought I was being nice, but she felt that it was too aggressive. I have slipped, and called people ‘honey,’ ‘sweetheart,’ and ‘darling.’ I meant it to be endearing, but women found it dated and offensive.”
After discussing a few more of the allegations, Cuomo then said that he would “never want to be unhelpful in any way,” and wants to let “government get back to govenment.” Cuomo has served as the state’s 56th governor since 2011.
“As we say, it’s not about me, it’s about we,” Cuomo said.
With Cuomo steppig down, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will be taking his place, becoming the first woman governor of New York State.
“I agree with Governor Cuomo’s decision to step down,” she tweeted. “It is the right thing to do and in the best interest of New Yorkers.”
Also resigning this week was Time’s Up leader Roberta Kaplan, over her work advising Cuomo’s administration amid the allegations as they first were being made against him last year, NPR reports.
As previously reported, 179 witnesses gave interviews during the four-month investigation into Cuomo’s allegations, which pointed to a toxic work environment. Attorney General Letitia James said that it concluded the governor “sexually harassed multiple women, and in doing so violated federal and state law.”
“It’s who I have been since I can remember. In my mind, I have never crossed the line with anyone, but I didn’t realize the extent to which the line has been redrawn,” Cuomo said. “There are generational and cultural shifts that I just didn’t fully appreciate – and I should have. No excuses.”