New York’s lieutenant governor, Kathy Hochul, is set to replace disgraced Gov. Andrew Cuomo after he steps down over multiple sexual harassment allegations.
Hochul is considered to be a “moderate” Democrat, and will be the first female governor of New York.
Cuomo announced his resignation one week after New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced in a 168-page report that “the governor engaged in conduct constituting sexual harassment under federal and New York State law.”
The governor said on Tuesday that his resignation will be effective in 14 days.
The AG’s report came after a five month investigation into sexual harassment allegations from eleven women, including former staffers and one current staffer.
“I take full responsibility for my actions. I have been too familiar with people. My sense of humor can be insensitive and off-putting. I do hug and kiss people casually — women and men. I have done it all my life,” Cuomo said.
“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,” he added. “And I should have. No excuses.”
Hochul last week joined the chorus of politicians on both sides of the aisle denouncing the governor in the wake of the report, and calling his behavior “repulsive and unlawful.”
“I believe these brave women,” she wrote in a statement last Tuesday.
Hochul said today that she is prepared to lead New York as the state’s 57th governor.
“I agree with Governor Cuomo’s decision to step down. It is the right thing to do and in the best interest of New Yorkers,” she said in a Twitter post.
I agree with Governor Cuomo's decision to step down. It is the right thing to do and in the best interest of New Yorkers.
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.
— Kathy Hochul (@LtGovHochulNY) August 10, 2021
As lieutenant governor, Hochul “has spent years on the road as the friendly face of the administration, visiting the far-flung coffee shops and factory floors of each of the state’s 62 counties for countless ribbon-cutting ceremonies and civic cheerleading events,” the Times-Union reported.
To many New Yorkers, Hochul is an unknown quantity, serving since 2015 in a job that is mostly ceremonial. A typical afternoon in late July had her announcing job training funding in Utica, discussing manufacturing in Rome and touring downtown Cazenovia with the small town’s mayor.
That has been nothing like the attention-demanding appearances of the determinedly high-profile Cuomo, who does most of his business in Albany and New York City and whose daily coronavirus briefings were national events at the height of the coronavirus.
Hochul has not been part of Cuomo’s inner circle of aides and allies. Her name wasn’t mentioned in the investigative report, released by Attorney General Letitia James, that detailed not only the harassment allegations against Cuomo but also efforts by his staff to discredit some of his accusers.
But at 62, Hochul is an experienced politician, a veteran of 11 campaigns that have taken her from town board to Congress, the latter representing a conservative western New York district after a surprising 2011 win in a special election to fill a vacancy in the U.S. House.
Cuomo was hoping to ride out the scandal, as many Democrats in power have successfully done.
The soon-to-be ex-governor and his inner circle of lawyers, staff, and cronies desperately tried to cling to power by smearing the reputations of his accusers, and retaliating against them. This has made him even more reviled in many quarters.
Moreover, it has not gone unnoticed that the scandal that brought Cuomo down was the #MeToo allegations, rather than his infamous directive that forced nursing homes to accept patients infected with the Covid-19 virus. His lethal order resulted in thousands of deaths of seniors, impacting Republicans and Democrats alike.
Throughout 2020, the corporate media gushed over the NY governor’s handling of the COVID pandemic, propping him up as the designated foil for then-President Donald Trump. Some talking heads even referred to him as the “shadow president,” or a quasi “acting president.”
Never forget how cable news spent an entire year fawning over Gov. Cuomo
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) August 10, 2021
The disgraced governor was awarded with an Emmy in November of last year, well after his disastrous nursing home policy had come to light.