Andrew Cuomo: why did the New York governor resign - and who is his replacement Kathy Hochul?

Cuomo has stepped down amid allegations that he sexually harassed 11 women

Andrew Cuomo: why did the New York governor resign - and who is his replacement Kathy Hochul? (Photo by Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)

Andrew Cuomo has resigned as governor of New York as a result of an inquiry which found that he had harassed multiple women.

Cuomo has denied the claims, which were spelled out in a lengthy independent report produced by the New York Attorney General’s office, commissioned following a number of his accusers going public.

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Who is Andrew Cuomo?

Cuomo, 63, is a Democratic politician and has been governor of New York since 2011.

He is part of a high profile New York family, including his brother Chris Cuomo the CNN news anchor and Mario Cuomo, his father, who previously served as governor of New York for three terms.

Andrew Cuomo has been active in politics since the early 80’s when he worked on his father’s campaign, and has also worked as a lawyer, serving as the assistant attorney general before entering private practice.

He has long been a controversial and divisive figure in New York and Democratic politics, making friends and enemies in equal measure due to his often-abrasive style.

During the first peak of the Covid crisis, Cuomo received wide praise for his public announcements and handling of the pandemic, which was contrasted to that of then-president Donald Trump.

However, he was also widely criticised for the decision to to force nursing homes to admit patients with Covid-19, and afterwards making attempts to cover up the scale of deaths among the care-home population.

Why has he resigned as governor?

Following public allegations against the governor, an independent investigation was launched by the state Attorney General, Letitia James’ office.This inquiry found that Cuomo has harassed at least 11 women, including groping, touching and kissing them without consent.

The most serious accusation in the report was that Cuomo groped his former aide’s breast, an allegation which is the subject of a criminal investigation.

The report also stated that the governor ran his finger down the spine of a female state trooper assigned to protect him, and told an energy company worker he met in 2017 that he would say there was a spider on her shoulder before brushing his hand over her chest.

As well as the testimonies of his victims, the report was based on corroboration of these claims and other supporting evidence.

The publication of the report prompted many senior Democrats to call for Cuomo’s resignation, though the governor initially remained defiant.

However, as it became clear that he would be impeached and likely forced from office by colleagues, Cuomo announced his resignation yesterday.

He said he still denies the allegations against him, but apologised “deeply, deeply,” to any women who were offended by his actions.

Cuomo said he decided to resign because the scandal would be too much of a distraction and cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

He will be replaced by current lieutenant governor, Kathy Hochul.

Who is Kathy Hochul?

Currently serving in the largely ceremonial role of lieutenant governor, Kathy Hochul joined the governor’s team in 2014, after being elected to Congress in 2011.

Hochul is of Irish descent - her grandparents fled poverty-stricken Ireland for New York around the turn of the 20th century.

Throughout her career she has campaigned for women facing domestic and sexual violence, including opening a transitional home for domestic violence victims in 2006.

She had called for Cuomo’s resignation in light of the Attorney General’s report, describing it as “the right thing to do”.She previously Tweeted in response to the report that it “documented repulsive & unlawful behaviour by the Governor toward multiple women”.

In a statement, she said: “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”.