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Everything We Know About Andrew Cuomo’s Resignation: What has happened so far and what is to come
Asher Neuman

After insisting that he “wasn’t going anywhere”, Former Governor Andrew Cuomo officially resigned from his position. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul took his place two weeks after his announcement. Cuomo leaves New York State in chaos, with Hurricane Henri touching down and the Delta variant of COVID-19 pushing the city towards further lockdowns and vaccine mandates. His Democratic party is in shambles, and any chance of a supposed presidential run is improbable. Even the chief of Time Out NY resigned over connections with him. 

The last few months of Cuomo’s Governorship divided the state of New York between praise and scorn, and shook up Democratic leadership across the country. On the one hand, Cuomo was lauded for his wisdom and competence in stopping the sky-rocketing numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths in New York State. Comedian Randy Rainbow had unironically coined the term “Cuomo-sexual” to describe the amorous feeling people had towards Cuomo’s leadership. Cuomo even won an International Emmy for his daily briefings to the people of New York. 

On the other hand, Cuomo is currently under multiple investigations pertaining to several charges, including sexual assault, lying about COVID-19 casualties, and priotitizing COVID tests for close family and friends. Multiple fellow Democrats called for his resignation, including President Joe Biden, members of the state’s congressional delegation — including Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand — and members of New York’s legislature. As reported by NBC News, a poll released by Siena College in July 2021 during the ordeal found New Yorkers divided over their governor with 9 percent said he should stay in office but not seek another term, 33 percent said he should run again, and 23 percent said he should resign immediately. 

In this article we hope to explain the situation which led to his resignation, as well as the ripple effects this will have on other Democrats, the State of New York, the identity of his replacement, and what this means for the Democratic party as a whole. 

His Scandals 

Over the last ten years, Andrew Cuomo faced plenty of scandals, but three specific ones put his leadership into question. Though he was notorious for having a reputation for being hard to work with, his current allegations were enough to force his resignation. 

Cuomo’s resignation comes one week after a damning report issued by the state Attorney General’s office found he had sexually harassed multiple women, including a state police trooper assigned to his protective detail and women outside of government. 

“This is not a responsibility we take lightly,” Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement. “We will hire a law firm, deputize them as attorneys of our office, and oversee a rigorous and independent investigation.” James, also a Democrat, said Cuomo had broken state and federal laws with his conduct, which she asserted included unwanted touching and sexual remarks. As reported in the Boston Globe, one former top staffer, Lindsey Boylan, tweeted back in December that Cuomo sexually harassed her for years. Following up her accusation with a post on Medium, she described in detail inappropriate comments, including a suggestion to play strip poker. She also said he gave her an unwanted kiss on the lips. Cuomo has since denied her accusations

In another accusation, Charlotte Bennett, a 25-year-old ex-staffer, who left her state job, said Cuomo, 63, asked her questions about her personal life, including her sexual history. In response, he issued a statement, apologizing for inappropriate and “misinterpreted” remarks. As of today, 11 women have come forward with claims of sexual assault. However no announcement has been made recently regarding a court date to address these accusations. It’s difficult at the moment to determine what will happen to Cuomo after his resignation. 

As reported by the Albany Times, allegations came out that during the early stages of the pandemic Cuomo prioritized COVID-19 tests, which were limited at the time, for his family and other associates. While testing was going on in New Rochelle during the beginning of the pandemic, one of those involved reportedly said that the people with close ties to the governor, including his relatives, would have their samples moved to the front of the line at Wadsworth Center Laboratory in Albany and given top priority. According to one of the testers, they were referred to as "critical samples." According to the Hill, particular scrutiny focused on the positive test of his brother Chris in March 2020 amid other conflicts of interest.These reports are currently being investigated by his impeachment probe. There are expectations that amid the conflicts of interest, there could be a potential shakeup at CNN, with Chris Cuomo possibly leaving the network. 

Attorney General Letitia James also reported an undercount in coronavirus-related deaths of state nursing home residents by the thousands to avoid ire from the Trump Administration. Health Department officials confirmed this by releasing new data that added more than 3,800 deaths to their tally, representing nursing home residents who had died in hospitals and had not previously been counted by the state as nursing home deaths. Two sources told the Associated Press that the U.S. Justice Department has been examining the governor’s coronavirus task force. Currently, they’re determining if the state intentionally manipulated data regarding deaths in nursing homes. The sources anonymously said that the Cuomo administration had not been cooperative with prosecutors, especially in the early stages of the probe. For months they had not produced documents and other data the Justice Department had requested. The inquiry began in the Justice Department’s civil division, and some parts of the investigation have already been disclosed to the public. On Aug. 26, 2020, federal prosecutors gave Cuomo’s administration 14 days to provide data on nursing home deaths. More data was sought in October of 2020. Cuomo used those lower numbers last year to erroneously claim that New York was seeing a much smaller percentage of nursing home residents dying of COVID-19 than other states. 

In recent weeks, Hochul’s office reported that nearly 55,400 people have died of the coronavirus in New York based on death certificate data submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s 43,400 more than Cuomo reported to the public as of his last day in office. As of now, should this go to trial, it’s expected that the State of New York will most likely try to settle out of court for undisclosed amounts, fearing further administrators will be investigated over the matter.

His Replacement 

Kathy Hochul (pronounced like “local”), Cuomo’s Democratic running mate, is now officially the state's first female governor. Hailing from Buffalo, NY, she is also the first governor from outside New York City and its immediate suburbs since 1932 (since Franklin Delano Roosevelt). She even plans to run for Governor again in 2022. “I am confident that they’ll see that I fight like hell every single day,” she said in an interview. “It’s how I’m hardwired, and I’m looking forward to this challenge, and I won’t let New Yorkers down.” 

While the lieutenant governor doesn’t really do much (except be second-in-line for governor), Hochul wasn’t just sitting around. Cuomo tasked Hochul with chairing the 10 regional economic development councils that were the centerpiece of the administration's economic development plan. He also appointed her to chair the Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Abuse and Addiction. In this capacity, she convened eight outreach sessions across New York State to hear from experts and community members in search of answers to the heroin crisis and worked to develop a comprehensive strategy for New York. 

She also spearheaded Cuomo's "Enough is Enough" campaign to combat sexual assault on college campuses. Since its inception in 2015, she’s hosted and attended more than 25 events. In March 2016, Cuomo named her to the New York State Women's Suffrage 100th Anniversary Commemoration Commission. 

His Place in the Democratic Party

As of now, Cuomo’s chance to be anywhere near the political ticket for either re-election or presidency is highly unlikely. However, and despite all allegations against him, he had announced his intention to seek a fourth term in 2022. In 2019, he stated that “I believe I’m doing good things. I believe I know how to do this, and it gives me a personal sense of satisfaction to believe that at the end of the day, with all the nastiness in the world and all the politics in the world and the critics and the naysayers and the negativity, I know what I got done, and we have a lot going on now, and I would like to do it for as long as the people of the state of New York think I am a positive.” His legacy was summarily tarnished with the sexual allegations, especially during the peak of the #MeToo movement, which he ironically supported.

Regarding the Democratic primary, it’s unlikely the Democrats would be willing to bring him in. This resignation also opens the door for New York Republicans to have a chance at leading the Empire State. No Republican would’ve beaten Cuomo with his support during the peak of the pandemic, but now it might just happen. 

In another report by the Times Union, AG James has denied having any political motivations for the probe. In fact, Cuomo even authorized it. James has also not publicly said whether she might run for governor. While her office oversaw the probe, it was actually conducted by two outside lawyers, Joon Kim and Anne Clark, who spoke with 179 people — including Cuomo himself.

As Mark Davis wrote in a Newsweek Op-Ed, New York Republicans will pick from a field containing Rudy Giuliani's son Andrew and Rep. Lee Zeldin. With the extra predictions of a 2022 GOP wave to take over the Senate and Congress, New York may witness something unseen for nearly 30 years: a close governor race, the first since Pataki's three-point win in 1994 over Andrew Cuomo's own father.

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