ALBANI, NY – Outgoing New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has broadcast a pre-recorded defiant farewell speech In his last hours in office on Monday, highlights his accomplishments while suggesting that he is the victim of a “political firecracker” that derailed his government career.
Cuomo, a Democrat, is set to resign at the end of Monday, paving the way for Lieutenant Governor Hochul to become the state’s 57th governor at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.
His voluntary resignation comes three weeks after an investigation by private attorneys selected by state attorney general Letitia James concluded that Cuomo had sexually harassed 11 women while in office, including nine current or former government employees.
But Cuomo repeatedly noted that the investigation – which Cuomo himself authorized – was politically motivated and designed to defame him, an issue he made again at the top of his 15-minute farewell speech.
“The attorney general’s report was designed as a political fireworks on an explosive topic, and it worked,” Cuomo said in the speech, which was recorded at the Executive Palace in Albany. “There was a political and media scramble. But the truth will come out in time, I’m sure of that.”
Monday marks Cuomo’s last day in office after he was first elected in 2010, marking an abrupt and shameful end to his decade-long rule after spending most of his adult life in government.
Lieutenant Kathy Hochhol is set to make history When she is sworn in as the state’s 57th governor at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, becoming the first woman to hold that office.
Prior to Cuomo’s speech, his top aide, Melissa DeRosa, issued a statement confirming that the outgoing Democrat had no intention of returning to electoral politics.
“(Como) is looking forward to spending time with his family and has a lot of fishing to make up for it,” DeRosa said. “He is exploring a number of options, but has no interest in running for a new position.”
Cuomo, 63, announced his pending resignation on August 10, a week later State Attorney General Letitia James released her report Examine the allegations of women – including nine current or former government employees – who say Cuomo acted inappropriately.
The report, which was completed by private attorneys John Kim and Ann Clark, concluded that Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women, finding their allegations credible while many of them corroborated with contemporary letters and accounts.
Among them was a claim from an executive assistant at Cuomo, who has been working since then She introduced herself as Brittany Commisso, who claimed Cuomo reached under her shirt and touched her chest late last year.
Cuomo and his attorney, Rita Glavin, denied the most serious allegations and suggested that women may have misinterpreted some of his remarks as courtship. It was alleged that the attorney general’s report omitted relevant information and was politically motivated, suggesting that James appointed her to the governor’s office herself.
But the governor himself asked for James’ investigation.
Cuomo referred the matter to the attorney general’s office in March after two former Cuomo aides, Lindsey Boylan and Charlotte Bennett, publicly accused the governor of harassment behaviour.
Initially, Cuomo himself chose a private attorney to complete the review. But he backed down under pressure from lawmakers, who urged him to refer the matter to the attorney general, who eventually chose Kim and Clark to do the job.
John Campbell is the New York State team editor for the USA TODAY Network. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @JonCampbellGAN.