New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo Resigns Over Sexual Harassment – Kelowna Capital Information
Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned Tuesday on a spate of sexual harassment allegations, a year after he was celebrated nationwide for his detailed daily briefings and leadership in the darkest days of COVID-19.
The governor’s three-term decision, which will come into effect in two weeks, was heralded as momentum in the legislature to remove him through impeachment. It came after the New York attorney general released the results of an investigation that found Cuomo sexually molested at least 11 women.
Investigators said he exposed women to unwanted kisses; groped or otherwise inappropriately touched her breasts or buttocks; made suggestive remarks about her appearance and sex life; and created a work environment “full of fear and intimidation”.
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, a 62-year-old Democrat and former Congresswoman from the Buffalo area, becomes the state’s 57th governor and the first woman in office.
The #MeToo-era scandal ended not just a career, but a dynasty: Cuomo’s father, Mario Cuomo, was governor in the 1980s and 90s, and the younger Cuomo was often mentioned as a potential presidential candidate, an office his father held for famous was considered to look. While the scandal was budding, Cuomo planned to run for re-election in 2022.
Cuomo is still facing criminal charges as a number of prosecutors across the state investigate him.
The string of allegations that sparked the governor’s overthrow began to spread in the news last December and lasted for months.
Cuomo called some of the allegations fabricated and vigorously denied touching anyone inappropriately. But he did admit that some aides were uncomfortable with comments he intended to be playful and apologized for some of his behavior.
He presented some of the encounters as misunderstandings that can be traced back to “generational or cultural” differences, which partly points to his upbringing in a loving Italian-American family.
When Cuomo stubbornly stood firm, state lawmakers opened an impeachment investigation and almost the entire New York Democratic establishment left him – not only because of the allegations, but also because of the discovery that his administration had thousands of COVID-19 deaths had kept secret among nursing home patients.
The harassment investigation ordered by the Attorney General and conducted by two outside lawyers confirmed the women’s accounts and added sensational new ones. The release of the report left the governor more isolated than ever, with some of his most loyal supporters abandoning him and President Joe Biden joining those who urged him to resign.
His accusers included an adviser who said Cuomo felt her chest in the governor’s mansion. Investigators also retaliated against one of his accusers by leaking confidential personnel files on them.
As governor, Cuomo described himself as an example of a “progressive democrat” getting things done: since taking office in 2011, he helped enforce laws to legalize gay marriage, began raising the minimum wage to $ 15 and expanding paid family vacation benefits. He also supported major infrastructure projects, including airport overhauls and the construction of a new bridge over the Hudson River, which he named after his father.
At the same time, he publicly campaigned for the #MeToo movement with his behavior that got him into trouble and surrounded himself with women’s rights activists, signed a law that introduced new protective measures against sexual harassment and extended the statute of limitations in rape cases.
Its national popularity soared in the harrowing spring of 2020 as New York became the epicenter of the country’s coronavirus outbreak.
His stubborn but compassionate response made TV immersive well beyond New York City, and his stern warnings to people to stay home and wear masks were in sharp contrast to President Donald Trump’s departure from the virus. His briefings won an international Emmy Award and he wrote a book on leadership in crisis.
But even those accomplishments were soon tarnished when it was revealed that the official nursing home death census had excluded many patients who had been hospitalized before they died. A Cuomo adviser admitted that the government feared that Trump’s White House would “use the real numbers against us”.
The Cuomo government has also come under heavy criticism for forcing nursing homes to accept patients who are recovering from the virus.
The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the state’s handling of data on deaths in nursing homes. In addition, the attorney general is investigating whether Cuomo violated the law when he used his staff to write and promote his book, which was supposed to earn him more than $ 5 million.
The governor had also come under increasing criticism for his harsh and sometimes vengeful dealings with politicians and his own staff, with former staff telling stories of a brutal work environment.
Cuomo has been divorced from Kennedy family writer and activist Kerry Kennedy since 2005 and was dating TV lifestyle personality Sandra Lee until 2019. He has three grown daughters.
As his father’s hard-nosed and often ruthless campaign manager, he gained political experience early on and became New York Attorney General and Secretary of Housing under President Bill Clinton before being elected governor in 2010.
New York has seen a number of high-ranking political figures fall out of favor in the past few years.
Governor Eliot Spitzer resigned in 2008 in a call girl scandal. Rep. Anthony Weiner went to jail for sexting a 15-year-old girl. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman resigned in 2018 after four women accused him of abuse. And the top two legislative leaders have been convicted of corruption.
-The Associated Press
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