Andrew Cuomo resigned as governor of New York on Tuesday after an investigation found him sexually harassed 11 women, mounting legal pressure and demands for his departure by President Joe Biden, a stunning downfall for a man once viewed as a possible presidential contender.
Cuomo, a Democrat who served as governor since 2011, announced his resignation after New York Attorney General Letitia James released the results of a five-month investigation that concluded he had engaged in conduct that violated federal and state laws.
Cuomo groped, kissed and made suggestive comments to women, including current and former government workers, one of whom was a state trooper, and retaliated against women who accused him of sexual misconduct, according to a 168-page report. Mr. Cuomo denied any wrongdoing.
As outlined in New York’s constitution, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat from western New York, will succeed Governor Cuomo as governor until the end of Cuomo’s term in December 2022, becoming the first woman to hold the position.
Having resigned, Cuomo is the second governor in 13 years to resign as a result of scandal. Spitzer quit over his support for prostitutes in 2008. Following the #MeToo social movement against sexual abuse and harassment that has shaken politics, Hollywood, the business world and the workplace, Cuomo also became the latest powerful man to fall.
Cuomo’s resignation saved him from possible removal through impeachment proceedings in the state legislature. The impeachment investigation seemed only to intensify.
Cuomo was elected to three terms as governor, as was his late father, Mario Cuomo. Previously, he served as U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 1997 to 2001 under former President Bill Clinton.
Andrew Cuomo never ran for president despite speculation about his national ambitions. In the first few weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, he gained national prominence after delivering daily news conferences as his state became the U.S. epicenter of the public health crisis.