The precarious Governorship of New York has finally given in to the pressure. The New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has resigned from his position as a result of the damning sexual harassment report which concluded that Cuomo did sexually harass 11 women during his tenure. Despite the fact that he is persistently insisting on his innocence, he succumbed to the pressure from the Democratic party. However, in hindsight, shouldn’t he have resigned earlier? There were other scandals revolving around Cuomo and his tenure as New York Governor. Shouldn’t those scandals have been enough for him to call it a day?
Andrew Cuomo resigns – continues to defend himself in speech
In his more than 20 minutes long resignation speech, Andrew Cuomo still pleaded his innocence, saying:
The report said I sexually harassed 11 women. That was the headline people heard and saw. And there is a difference between alleged improper conduct and concluding sexual harassment.
Moreover, Cuomo made arguments that the line of being friendly with your female subordinates had been withdrawn. In the report, a woman alleged that the Governor put his hand inside her blouse, feeling her. Cuomo said in the speech:
In my mind, I’ve never crossed the line with anyone, but I didn’t realize the extent to which the line has been redrawn.
In the report, a female New York state trooper alleged that Cuomo put her in his police detail because he fancied her. As a result, she faced harassment at his hand, but Cuomo has denied those allegations, saying he did it because of a “lack of diversity on the state police detail”. He continued:
Now, I don’t recall doing it, but if she said I did it, I believe her. When I walk past them, I often will give them a grip of the arm, a pat on face, a touch on the stomach, a slap on the back. It’s my way of saying, I see you. I appreciate you, and I thank you.
The Governor says he was hurt by the way his daughters looked at him after the allegations
Apart from the allegations, Andrew Cuomo also revealed the toll that the scandal took on his personal life. This was especially with regards to his three daughters, Michaela, Mariah, and Cara. After the allegations surfaced, followed by the subsequent investigation and report by New York Attorney General, Letitia James, it was difficult for Cuomo to face his daughters. The Governor said in his speech:
I have sat on the couch with them, hearing the ugly accusations for weeks. I have seen the look in their eyes, and the expression on their faces. And it hurt.
Lastly, Andrew Cuomo made clear that he did not want to waste the state’s resources on impeachment, as there are many more pressing matters at hand for the New York legislature. And he did not want to be a burden on the state in such trying times. He said:
It is a matter of life and death, government operations. And wasting energy on distractions is the last thing that state government should be doing. And I cannot be the cause of that.
As a result, Andrew Cuomo resigned and his love for New York prevented him from going on a battle with the New York legislature. Therefore, he decided to “step aside”:
I love New York, and I love you. And everything I have ever done has been motivated by that love, and I would never want to be unhelpful in any way. I think that given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing. Therefore that’s what I’ll do, because I work for you.
Andrew Cuomo will be succeded by Kathy Hochul as Governor
Moreover, Andrew Cuomo had encouraging words for his successor, Kathy Hochul. Hochul is currently serving the ceremonial role of lieutenant governor and has been a part of Cuomo’s team since 2014. She will be the first female governor of New York, the fourth most populous state of the Union. She commended Cuomo for resigning, and looks forward to the task ahead, saying:
As someone who has served at all levels of government and is next in the line of succession, I am prepared to lead as New York State’s 57th Governor.
Furthermore, Andrew Cuomo also praised the incumbent in his speech, saying:
I’m very worried about the Delta variant, and so should you be. But she [Hochul] can come up to speed quickly. And my resignation will be effective in 14 days.
For now, it’s unclear if Hochul will run for a full term in 2022. You can watch Andrew Cuomo’s resignation speech below:
Should sexual harassment have been the breaking point for Cuomo’s Governorship?
The sexual harassment allegations against Andrew Cuomo were quite serious and undoubtedly merit his removal from office. However, this was far from being the only serious scandal against the Governor. The first one was from January of 2021, where Attorney General James revealed after an investigation that Cuomo did understate the total number of COVID deaths in New York by some margin. The deaths especially in nursing homes were severely underreported by as much as 50%. Moreover, Cuomo also told the nursing homes not to admit the COVID-positive senior citizens in hospitals, which resulted in a catastrophic number of deaths. But, when the reporters and the news would question Cuomo, he would name it a political issue and blame it on right-leaning media like Fox News, New York Post, Michael Goodwin, Bob McManus, etc.
Moreover, mainstream media outlets were accused of not covering the scandal in its entirety because of the ongoing war between the media and Donald Trump. Moreover, it was revealed that Cuomo privately apologized to New York lawmakers as well, but requested them to not cover the issue. This was in a bid to fight the political war against Donald Trump and not give him “ammunition” for his rhetoric. As a result, the scandal is often referred to as a “cover-up”.
The main question is, should Andrew Cuomo have resigned over this scandal? Should the Democrats have covered up for him just for the sake of a political war against Donald Trump? The nursing home scandal was severe enough to see Cuomo out the door of the Governor’s office. Yet, the Democrats persisted to protect him, over thousands of dead bodies. The main question is, how was it worth it?