sexual harassment claims from 11 women and mounting pressure to quit from fellow Democrats, announced his resignation on Tuesday.
It was a stunning reversal of fortune for the 63-year-old Cuomo, who just a year ago earned praise for his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic before being engulfed in the harassment allegations and claims that he covered up the scale of deaths in nursing homes.
“I think that given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to government,” Cuomo said in a live televised address.
“My resignation will be effective in 14 days.
Cuomo, who will hand over the reins to Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, a fellow Democrat, denied the accusations of sexual harassment outlined in a report released last week by the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James.
“The report said I s@xually harassed 11 women,” Cuomo said. “That was the headline people heard and saw. The reaction was outrage. It should have been. However, it was also false.
But he said he wanted to “deeply, deeply” apologize to any women who may have been offended by his actions.
“I have been too familiar with people,” said Cuomo, who was once touted as a potential Democratic presidential candidate. “I do hug and kiss people casually, women and men. I have done it all my life.”
“In my mind I’ve never crossed the line with anyone,” he said. “But I didn’t realize the extent to which the line has been redrawn.
“There are generational and cultural shifts that I just didn’t fully appreciate. And I should have. No excuses.”
“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 thought I was being nice, but she felt that it was too aggressive.”