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When did Andrew Cuomo become Governor of New York? Why did he resign? Who will replace him?

Andrew Cuomo stepped down from his position as NY governor after delivering a 20-minute resignation speech on Tuesday. Kathy Hochul will take over.

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When did Andrew Cuomo become Governor of New York? Why did he resign? Who will replace him?
JOHANNES EISELE AFP

Andrew Cuomo’s decision to resign from his position as Governor of New York took some people by surprise - White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki insisted that President Biden had not been warned in advance of Cuomo’s decision to step down from office.

Cuomo was the subject of a scathing report from the state's attorney general which concluded that he sexually harassed 11 women, and in one case, threatened one of his accusers who went public with her allegations.

Cuomo's resignation speech

Just before noon on Tuesday, Cuomo gave a speech in which he defended himself against the accusations of sexual harassment and announced that he would be leaving office.

"I've always started by telling New Yorkers the facts before my opinion. So let's start New York tough, with the truth,”Cuomo began. “The Attorney General did a report on complaints against me by certain women for my conduct. The report said I sexually harassed 11 women. That was the headline people read and saw and reacted to. The reaction was outrage, it should have been. However, it was also false. My lawyers have reviewed the report over the last few days. And have already raised serious issues and flaws. The most serious allegations made against me had no credible factual basis in the report. There is a difference between alleged, improper conduct and concluding sexual harassment.

He continued, “Now, don’t get me wrong. This is not to say that there are not 11 women who I truly offended. There are. And for that, I deeply, deeply apologise. I thought a hug, and putting my arm around a staff person while taking a picture was friendly. But she found it to be too forward. I kissed a woman on the cheek at a wedding and I thought I was being nice, but she felt that it was too aggressive. I have slipped, and called people ‘Honey’, ‘Sweetheart’ and ‘Darling’ - I meant it to be endearing but women found it dated and offensive. I said on national TV, to a doctor wearing PPE and giving me a Covid nasal swab, ‘You make that gown look good’. I was joking, obviously, otherwise I wouldn’t have said it live on national TV. But she found it disrespectful.

“I take full responsibility for my actions. I've been too familiar with people. My sense of humour can be insensitive and off putting. I do hug and kiss people casually - women and men. I have done it all my life. It’s who I have been since I remember. In my mind, I’ve never crossed the line with anyone. But I didn;t realise the extent to which the line has been redrawn.

He ended, “Given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing".

Cuomo in office since 2011

Following in the footsteps of his father Mario, Andrew Cuomo had held the governor’s position for almost three terms. Both of his predecessors were also embroiled in controversy. In March 2008, The New York Times reported that Gov. Eliot Spitzer was involved in a prostitution ring and cited other allegations including money laundering. A week later he resigned. He was followed by David Peterson who left under a cloud just a couple of years later. He had been subject to an investigation into his acceptance of five free World Series tickets at Yankee Stadium, valued at $425 each. State officials and employees are prohibited from soliciting or accepting gifts of more than “nominal value” from individuals and entities that do business with the State. Andrew Cuomo was sworn in as New York's 56th governor on 31 December 2010 and took the gubernatorial oath of office at midday the following day.

Kathy Hochul to take over

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul is set to replace Cuomo. She is expected to be sworn in on Tuesday 24 August and in doing so, the 62-year-old will become the state's 57th governor as well as its first female governor.