Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, called for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) arrest Tuesday after he announced he would resign over multiple sexual harassment allegations.
“New Yorkers have lived for far too long under the Worst Governor in America’s corrupt and criminal tenure,” said Stefanik. “This resignation is long past overdue. Governor Cuomo needs to be arrested and prosecuted for sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual abuse. Governor Cuomo also needs to be arrested and prosecuted for his criminal acts covering up the tragic deaths of our most vulnerable seniors in nursing homes.
“In addition, Governor Cuomo and his staff, funded by the taxpayers, must be prosecuted for illegally using state resources to negotiate a multimillion-dollar book deal. There are multiple federal and state laws that the Governor and his staff have broken, and they need to be held accountable,” the New York Republican continued. “Every New Yorker must know that there is equal justice under the law – no matter if you are the most powerful figure in New York or an everyday New Yorker.”
“The systemic culture of criminal corruption, political vengeance, and illegal retaliation under Andrew Cuomo was brushed under the rug for years by Democrats, the media, and the cesspool of Albany. It is a disgraceful chapter in New York’s history,” she added. “The next Governor Kathy Hochul must purge Cuomo’s abusive, corrupt, and criminal political appointees immediately to clean house for the sake of every New Yorker.”
Earlier Tuesday, Cuomo announced his resignation as impeachment by state lawmakers hung over his head. The governor faced removal over a bombshell attorney general report that accused him of sexual misconduct against 11 women.
“I think that given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside,” Cuomo said in his first press conference since the report.
“This is one of the most challenging times for government in a generation,” the governor continued. “Government really needs to function today, government needs to perform. It is a matter of life and death.”
“Wasting energy on distractions is the last thing [the] state government should be doing,” he added.
Cuomo’s resignation will be effective in 14 days.
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, a 62-year-old Democrat and former member of Congress from the Buffalo area, will become the state’s 57th governor and the first woman to hold the post.
“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,” Hochul tweeted.
The #MeToo-era scandal cut short 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 candidate for president, an office his father famously contemplated seeking. Even as the scandal mushroomed, Cuomo was planning to run for reelection in 2022.
Cuomo still faces the possibility of criminal charges, with a number of prosecutors around the state moving to investigate him.
The string of accusations that spelled the governor’s downfall began to unfold in news reports last December and went on for months.
Cuomo called some of the allegations fabricated, forcefully denying he touched anyone inappropriately. But he acknowledged making some aides uncomfortable with comments he said he intended as playful, and he apologized for some of his behavior.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.