NEW YORK — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation Tuesday and spoke out for the first time live since the attorney general’s scathing report on numerous sexual harassment accusations against the governor.
“New York tough means New York loving, and I love New York and I love you,” the governor said. “I would never want to be unhelpful in any way, and I think given the circumstances, 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.”
His resignation will take effect on Aug. 24, and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will take over, becoming New York’s first female governor.
“Kathy Hochul, my lieutenant governor, is smart and competent. This transition must be seamless. We have a lot going on, I’m very worried about the delta variant, and so should you be, but she can come up to speed quickly, and my resignation will be effective in 14 days,” he said.
“Wasting energy on distractions is the last thing the government should do,” Cuomo said.
He also thanked the members of his administration for making New York “the progressive capital of the nation.”
“No other state government accomplished more to help people,” Cuomo said, noting marriage equality, tough gun safety laws, raising the minimum wage, and managing every emergency “Mother Nature could throw at us.”
Cuomo acknowledged his daughters who he has “lived this experience with and through them.”
“I have sat on the couch with them hearing the ugly accusation for weeks. I have seen the look in their eyes and the expression on their faces. I want my three jewels to know this: My greatest goal is for them to have a better future than the generations of women before them. It is still in many ways a man’s world — it always has been. We have sexism that is culturalized and institutionalized. My daughters have more talent and natural gifts than I ever had. I want to make sure society allows them to fly as high as their wings carry them,” he said.
Despite the recent sexual harassment scandal, the governor reminded New Yorkers about their COVID-19 fight and how they fought the battle together.
“One community. One family. The family of New York. You overcame the naysayers and the haters and the fear and the division, and you unified and you rose and you overcame, and you saved lives,” he said. “It was beautiful to see and it was an honor to lead.”
The governor’s attorney Rita Glavin also spoke Tuesday morning on the harassment accusations.
In the week since, leaders and lawmakers from both parties have called on Cuomo to resign, while prosecutors from several New York counties are looking into criminal investigations of the governors alleged behavior.
New York lawmakers have also taken another early step toward possibly impeaching the governor.
The State Assembly’s judiciary committee met for the first time on Monday.
The committee, which has given Cuomo until Friday to respond to the allegations, will continue to meet in private through at least Aug. 23 to discuss hundreds of thousands of pages of documents and other evidence.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.