Andrew Cuomo says he will resign as NY governor as he faces impeachment over sexual harassment scandal

Andrew Cuomo.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York. Albin Lohr-Jones/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images
  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York on Tuesday announced he would resign in 14 days.
  • A week prior, the state attorney general released a report that found he sexually harassed 11 women.
  • Sexual-harassment allegations first plunged his administration into turmoil earlier this year.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York announced plans to resign Tuesday, ending his months-long battle to stay in office as multiple women came forward to say he had harassed and sexually assaulted them while serving as the state’s chief executive.

“My resignation will be effective in 14 days,” he said in a livestream Tuesday.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, a former congresswoman who cut her teeth working for the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, will take over in two weeks and become the first female governor in the history of New York State.

Cuomo began the livestream by pushing back on the sexual-harassment allegations that recently cast serious doubt on his political future, but he apologized for offending women with behavior he described as “outdated.”

The governor’s announcement came exactly a week after New York attorney general Letitia James announced the findings of an inquiry into Cuomo by independent investigators for her office. They found he sexually harassed 11 women, including members of his staff.

“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,” the investigators wrote in their 165-page report released August 3.

Before Cuomo went live to announce his plans to resign, his private attorney, Rita Glavin, held a closed press briefing in which she accused several of the governor’s victims of either lying or lacking credibility.

Cuomo did not acknowledge guilt in his remarks but he apologized for offending any women. He also told New Yorkers that his decision to resign was in their best interest because of the distraction his situation was causing.

“I work for you, and doing the right thing is doing the right thing for you,” he said.

Cuomo’s resignation marks a steep fall from grace, with the three-term Empire State governor once considered a future presidential candidate. When New York became the epicenter of the US’s COVID-19 outbreak in spring 2020, Cuomo took a star turn in Democratic politics through his daily coronavirus briefings, which earned him an international Emmy award and record approval ratings among the state’s residents.

One year later, though, the ground began to shift under Cuomo amid cascading crises on multiple fronts.

Sexual-harassment allegations from nine women, including current and former staffers, led to growing calls for Cuomo to resign, with several New York Democratic lawmakers telling Insider they were open to impeaching him.

The pressure ratcheted up shortly after the fourth Cuomo accuser came forward on March 7, prompting New York’s Democratic Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins to call on the governor to step aside.

New York congressional Democrats, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, also called in March on Cuomo to resign. Shortly after the AG report was released, the entirety of the Empire State’s congressional delegation called for his resignation.

President Joe Biden addressed Cuomo’s resignation during his remarks Tuesday on the newly passed $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package, saying he respects the governor’s decision. Biden called on Cuomo to resign shortly after the attorney general’s report was released.

Outgoing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a longtime Cuomo foe, gave credit to the women who came forward for forcing his resignation.

“Make no mistake, this is the result of survivors bravely telling their stories,” de Blasio said in a statement. “It was past time for Andrew Cuomo to resign and it’s for the good of all New York.”

Hochul also released a statement saying Cuomo’s resignation is “in the best interest of New Yorkers.”

Allegations against Cuomo include unwanted touching, inquiring about the sex lives of women on his staff, grabbing a woman’s face at a wedding after touching the small of her back, asking a 25-year-old staffer whether she had ever slept with older men, and asking another aide to play strip poker on the governor’s plane.

By the end of the first week of March, at least eight Cuomo staffers announced their plans to leave his office.

The independent investigation overseen by James into Cuomo’s behavior ultimately brought his total number of accusers to 11.

The investigators found the women’s claims to be “credible” and stated that the governor’s office failed to follow its own policies surrounding sexual-harassment allegations.

James also released a report in January accusing the Cuomo administration of undercounting COVID-19 deaths among nursing-home patients. This sparked initial calls for Cuomo’s resignation, almost exclusively from the state’s Republican lawmakers.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul is now set to take over as governor.