'Right thing to do': Officials react to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's resignation

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Wednesday, August 11, 2021
Officials, politicians react to governor's decision to step down
CeFaan Kim has more on the political response to Governor Cuomo's resignation.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Reaction was quick to pour in once Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation Tuesday over a barrage of sexual harassment allegations.

In a televised address, the 63-year-old Democrat emphatically denied intentionally showing any disrespect toward women but said that fighting back against what he called the "politically motivated" attack on him would subject the state to months of turmoil, and "I cannot be the cause of that."

"The best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to government," Cuomo said.

Cuomo said he will resign in 14 days.

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Attorney General Letitia James

"Today closes a sad chapter for all of New York, but it's an important step towards justice. I thank Governor Cuomo for his contributions to our state. The ascension of our Lieutenant Governor, Kathy Hochul, will help New York enter a new day. We must continue to build on the progress already made and improve the lives of New Yorkers in every corner of the state. I know our state is in good hands with Lieutenant Governor Hochul at the helm, and I look forward to continuing to work with her."

Mayor Bill de Blasio

"Make no mistake, this is the result of survivors bravely telling their stories. It was past time for Andrew Cuomo to resign and it's for the good of all New York."

New York State Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul

"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."

President Joe Biden

When asked how he would assess Cuomo's job as governor over the last decade, Biden said he has done a "hell of a job."

"Both on everything on access to voting and infrastructure to a whole range of things...that's why it's so sad."

President Biden says Gov. Cuomo has done a great job on access to voting, infrastructure and more.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont

"Since I came into office, I have worked hard to have a strong, collaborative relationship with the governor of New York. I just spoke with Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who will make history as the first woman to lead New York State, and we pledged to maintain a close working relationship for the betterment of our two states and our region."

Speaker Carl Heastie

"This has been a tragic chapter in our state's history. Governor Cuomo's resignation is the right decision. The brave women who stepped forward were heard. Everyone deserves to work in a harassment free environment. I have spoken with Lieutenant Governor Hochul and I look forward to working with her."

Mariann Wang, attorney for two Cuomo accusers

"My clients feel both vindicated and relieved that Cuomo will no longer be in a position of power over anyone. His efforts, through his paid attorney, over the last few days, to gaslight and attack the brave women who came forward, apparently served no purpose. Ms. McGrath and Ms. Limmiatis remain grateful that their voices and experiences were heard and substantiated by the AG's investigators, and feel solidarity with all women who continue to be abused by men in power. At least today, one of them has faced some consequences."

Debra Katz, attorney for Charlotte Bennett

"Today is a solemn day. One week after the Attorney General released a detailed report substantiating 11 women's allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault against Governor Cuomo, he had no choice but to resign.

The Governor's decision to resign is a testament to the growing power of women's voices since the beginning of the #MeToo movement. It underscores that sexual harassment is no longer acceptable-no matter what office the harasser holds. When Lindsey Boylan first publicly accused Governor Cuomo of sexually harassing her, the Governor's well-oiled political machine worked overtime to discredit her. Our client, Charlotte Bennett, was not willing to sit idly by while the Governor smeared Lindsey in the press. She knew that Lindsey was telling the truth because the Governor also sexually harassed her. Charlotte made the courageous decision to detail her own allegations to the public and to share her voluminous documentary evidence with investigators. Her contemporaneous text messages and emails and her sworn testimony demonstrated incontrovertibly that the Governor sexually harassed her at work. As is often the case, courage begets courage. Soon, other women came forward to support Lindsey and Charlotte in the face of the Governor's continuing denials, even as evidence mounted against him.

We are humbled by Charlotte's and the other complainants' remarkable courage in coming forward. They made that extraordinary personal and professional sacrifice because they knew what it was like to have careers derailed and relationships destroyed by a single powerful individual. They knew the pain and indignity of being sexually propositioned and groped. And critically, they wanted to make sure no other women endured the same.

The investigators in this case conducted a comprehensive investigation under intense public scrutiny. They put witnesses at ease to ensure that the public would have the benefit of everyone's evidence, and they compiled an extremely thorough and detailed report. Their process truly was a model for how high-stakes investigations should proceed. We are deeply appreciative of their unimpeachable work. And we are sickened by the Governor's baseless attacks against them.

The Governor's decision to resign is not the end of our reckoning with sexual harassment, but it is an important step in the right direction."

RELATED | Andrew Cuomo's accusers "vindicated and relieved," attorney says

NYC mayoral candidate Eric Adams

"The governor's resignation was necessary for New York State to move forward and continue the critical work of our recovery. I look forward to working in partnership with Lieutenant Governor Hochul on the key issues affecting our city and region at this pivotal moment."

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer

"First I want to commend the brave women who stepped forward and courageously told their stories. There is no place for sexual harassment, and todays announcement by Gov Cuomo to resign was the right decision for the good people of NY. I have full confidence that Lt Gov. Hochul will establish a professional and capable administration. I have spoken with Lt Gov. Hochul and look forward to working together to help the people of NY."

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

"First and foremost, I want to thank the incredibly courageous women who came forward and shared their stories. They are the true public servants here. New York now has a chance to move forward and build a new culture of leadership. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul is an exceptional public servant and will be an excellent governor. I look forward to working together to continue serving the people of our great state."

NY Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

"When abusers of power blame everyone else for "misunderstanding" their abuse, it is often a way to gain sympathy from those who've ever been / could be involved in a misunderstanding. But the intentional environment of fear & intimidation harassers create is far from a mistake. There is a huge difference between having an awkward interaction and discussing / learning from it vs. mobilizing entire networks and institutions to bring in victims, silence coverage, and retaliate against those who report abuse. Trying to blur that line helps abuses continue."

Gov. Cuomo's resignation is necessary and long overdue. But there is still a large amount of work ahead to account for and reverse the ways our institutions were molded over years to maximize the impunity and lack of transparency necessary for these abuses to unfold as they did."

NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson

"Gov. Cuomo abused his power and disgraced his office. His resignation signals a new chapter for our state. This Council is eager to support Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who will become the first woman governor of New York. It is regretful that this historic milestone was achieved under these tragic circumstances, but we are confident that her years of experience serving New Yorkers will help lead us to better days ahead.

I once again thank Attorney General Letitia James for the independent report, as well as her team. And I commend the women who came forward to share their stories."

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

"Today is a somber day for the state of New York, but one that demonstrates our ability to build a more accountable system of government. Governor Cuomo's resignation opens the door to a restorative future. We all owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the courageous women who came forward and helped pave the way for safer and more inclusive work spaces.

Working with Governor Kathy Hochul, the first woman Governor of New York State, we will continue to address the COVID-19 pandemic, rebuild our economy and face our challenges standing together. Governor Hochul is a dedicated leader, and united, we will get the people's work done."

Rep. Adriano Espaillat

"Today is a sad day for New York State following the resignation of Governor Cuomo, and we must work together to ensure that our state is able to move forward and rebuild. I extend my full support to each of the victims who have come forth to date and hope that they can each find healing, strength, and comfort from friends, families, and those closest to each of them," said Rep. Espaillat. "New York is cherished and known around the world as the Empire State and it is crucial that we work together to put the interests and well-being of New Yorkers first and foremost as we continue to move forward and beyond this moment in our history."

Sen. Julia Salazar

"We have a responsibility to go through the full impeachment process. Anything less would fail to fully hold the governor accountable, and to prevent his behavior from being repeated in the future."

Sen. Jessica Ramos

"The threat of impeachment was too big for Andrew Cuomo to bear. New Yorkers deserve better than a man who has played politics with our lives for a decade and couldn't see beyond his ego. I look forward to working with former Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul as she becomes our first female governor."

Sen. Alessandra Biaggi via Twitter

Today, @NYGovCuomo has finally put New Yorkers first and announced his resignation. I am forever grateful for the eleven women who risked everything to speak out about their experience of sexual misconduct. New York will be a better and safer place because of them. While further accountability is necessary, this moment reflects the hard work of survivors who have been striving for an end to workplace harassment for decades. New York State can now move forward and address the needs of the people we were elected to serve. I look forward to working under

@LtGovHochulNY's leadership. Let this next chapter for New York be one of integrity, optimism, and progress.

Former Gov. David Paterson

"I am sure this is a difficult choice and a sad day for the governor and his family. It is clearly in the best interests of all New Yorkers that the state government function through this difficult time and address the pressing COVID-19 issue."

Former Gov. George Pataki

Former Gov. George Pataki joined Eyewitness News to discuss Cuomo's resignation and what's next:

Former New York Governor George Pataki joins Eyewitness News to discuss Cuomo's resignation and what's next.

Democratic Chairman Jay S Jacobs

"New York will finally have its first female Governor and we could not be in better hands. From assisting her mother run a transitional domestic violence shelter to helping make the property tax cap permanent, Kathy Hochul has always and relentlessly fought for the people of New York. Her experience at all levels of government -- Town Board Member, County Clerk, Congresswoman, and Lt Gov, makes her uniquely well equipped to effectively govern the state at this time. I am confident that incoming Governor Hochul's empathy, work ethic and authentic concern for the welfare of its citizens will make her an outstanding Governor for our State."

NYGOP Chairman Nick Langworthy

"New Yorkers can breathe a collective sigh of relief that Andrew Cuomo will no longer be able to wield the immense power of the governor's office to commit his corruption and abuse, but make no mistake, this resignation is simply an attempt to avoid real accountability for his numerous crimes. Thousands of lives have been destroyed by Andrew Cuomo and the legislature must continue to move forward with impeachment to ensure he can never run for office again.

"Whether it was his numerous pay-to-play and corruption scandals, his deadly nursing home coverup or his $5 million book deal, the New York Republican Party has traveled across the state to expose the real Andrew Cuomo, even when it was a lonely solo mission. We will not rest until the entire stench of the Cuomo Administration is wiped clean from state government and we usher in a new era of integrity and common sense under a Republican governor in 2022."

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli

"The Governor has done the right thing. New York is facing many challenges as we battle the ongoing impact of COVID-19. My team and I stand ready to assist incoming Governor Hochul as we move the state forward."

NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams

"Finally. Many of us have known for a long time that Andrew Cuomo was the wrong Governor for New York. The last several months have plainly revealed that to the world as brave women who endured the Governor's abuse have spoken out, and as his administration has attempted to attack and ignore them. And while I hope that today gives the survivors of his conduct some semblance of peace and measure of justice, it is not a day of triumph and celebration - even the words of his resignation statement inflicted pain on survivors across the state. Today I am reflecting on the totality of the harm done, the systems that enable it, and the work ahead to dismantle those systems. Andrew Cuomo has only ever been interested in his own interests. As a result of his forced resignation, state government can now work solely for the people of New York. Resignation does not undo the harm he inflicted on the women who came forward. Nor does it reduce the damage that his abusive governance has long wrought. But it creates an opportunity to begin to recover. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and I have disagreed in the past about the direction of our state and its leadership. At the same time, in assuming this role, we need her to stabilize New York in a perilous moment and against an incessant volley of crises, and I - as we all should be- am ready to work with her to recover from this pandemic and rebuild New York. I hope that over the coming months she will be able to begin to address the toxic culture created by Governor Cuomo and those around him who empowered and enabled him, and all the damage the administration has wrought. It is my hope that this serves as a time for us to reframe notions of what a strong public servant should embody. Being a leader, rather than playing one on TV. Fighting for justice, not for power. Serving the needs of the oppressed, not propping up the oppressor. With Governor Cuomo removed from the position of power that he long abused, I am optimistic that we can restore that power to the people and repurpose it to renew New York."

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran

Governor Cuomo's decision to resign will help New York State refocus on the business of the people. I look forward to working with Kathy Hochul as the next Governor to move Nassau County forward."

Westchester County Executive George Latimer

"Westchester County, and my administration, stand ready to work with incoming Governor Kathy Hochul when she assumes the governorship later this month. For years, incoming Governor Hochul has been a welcomed presence in Westchester County. She is well qualified to lead New York State in this immediate crisis. Also, for all New Yorkers, let us recognize this historic moment - that New York will for the first time in our history have a female Governor. Times have changed - as they should. We welcome incoming Governor Hochul, and look forward to cooperation between Westchester County and New York State in moving together in the right direction."

Rockland County Executive Ed Day

The announcement of Governor Cuomo's resignation is extremely welcome and long overdue news. It has been clear for some time that the Governor's abusive and inappropriate behavior is unacceptable and his continued presence in the Governor's Mansion was an insult to the women he harassed and the people of New York.

I look forward to working with Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul as she serves out the remainder of this term and becomes the first woman to serve as Governor of New York. I am hopeful that this change in leadership will serve us well over the next year and a half and allow for real change in Albany so that employees across our state are treated with the respect that each and every one of us deserves.

Senate GOP leader Rob Ortt

"Today marks one small step toward restoring honor, decency, and accountability to New York State government. I hope today also brings some measure of justice to the brave women who had the courage to come forward against a powerful and vindictive political figure.

Over the past year, Andrew Cuomo's credibility completely fell apart. Now, following his overdue resignation, it will never be repaired. The Governor's pervasive harassment and coverups cast a dark cloud over our State Capitol and took us away from the important work facing this state.

Andrew Cuomo broke the law, lied about it, and shamelessly smeared the women who came forward. His resignation is welcome, but it stops short of the justice his victims and the people of New York deserve. The FBI, the State Attorney General, and other proper authorities must also be allowed to continue their work investigating all of the possible crimes related to our state's nursing homes crisis and the Governor's questionable book deal. The Legislature must examine the Cuomo administration's many failings in public forums as soon as possible so that these abuses of power will never happen under another administration. We must also acknowledge the fact that the Democrats in the Legislature failed to hold Andrew Cuomo or his administration accountable, despite our repeated calls to do so. Well after the numerous credible allegations were made against Andrew Cuomo, Democrats in both the Senate and Assembly stood by him, normalizing his behavior and enabling him to cling to power. I hope those in the Legislature - and other powerful figures around the state - reflect on their own actions in response to Andrew Cuomo's disturbing behavior. The vocal support and the deafening silence of many helped keep Andrew Cuomo in power far longer than he deserved. In 14 days we will have our first female Governor. I'd like to congratulate Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, a fellow Western New Yorker, on becoming the first woman to assume leadership of this state. My fellow Senators and I look forward to working with Governor Hochul as we continue to tackle the issues of rising crime, our state's struggling economy, and the resurgence of the COVID-19 virus."

WATCH | ABC News Political Director reacts to Cuomo's resignation:

'I think his voice is going to be sidelined and silenced': ABC News Political Director Rick Klein reacts to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's resignation.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)


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