In a pre-recorded “farewell” speech, Gov. Andrew Cuomo addressed New Yorkers for the last time as governor as he resigns at midnight amid numerous sexual harassment allegations.
The speech lasted around 16 minutes and Cuomo started it off doubling down once again that the accusations against him are all political attacks.
“Of course, everyone has a right to come forward,” Gov. Cuomo said. “But allegations must still be scrutinized and verified, whether made by a woman or a man.”
Almost three weeks ago, New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced the end to her office’s five-month investigation into the numerous sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo. Cuomo asked her office to open this investigation after the first three women stepped forward accusing him of inappropriate behavior.
No one was quite prepared for the bombshell report, which included hundreds of thousands of pages of witness testimony, documents and messages all substantiating claims of at least 11 women who say the third-term governor sexually harassed them.
Almost all of Cuomo’s political allies left his side and called on him to resign. This includes the head of the New York State Democratic Party, legislative leaders, union leaders and even President Joe Biden.
It took Cuomo a week, after trying to push back against the accusations, to announce that he would be resigning, but on Monday he continued to double down for at least his last time while in office, calling the attacks “political.”
“Facts still matter,” Cuomo said. “The attorney general’s report was designed to be a political firecracker on an explosive topic and it worked. There was a political and media stampede.”
Cuomo’s defense against these accusations, however, has mostly centered on claiming they either didn’t happen or the women misinterpreted his comments and touches.
Wrapping up his last pre-recorded remarks, Cuomo lamented on policies he would not have a chance to see to the end. This includes his state of emergency surrounding gun violence, police reform and repealing the SALT tax.
Cuomo did not mention the Assembly’s investigation which is looking into not only the sexual harassment allegations, but also whether Cuomo’s administration withheld the number of COVID-19 nursing home deaths, if Cuomo used state resources to write his pandemic book and more.
"We didn't get everything done that we wanted or even everything we should have done and we didn't always get it quite right,” Cuomo said. “But I want you to know that every day I worked my hardest.”
Looking to the future and the new Kathy Hochul administration, Cuomo said there should be a state law in place, mandating masks for high risk areas and businesses to show proof of vaccination. He also encouraged teachers to get vaccinated before the start of the school year.
On Lt. Gov. Hochul, who will be sworn in at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, August 24, Cuomo wished her well.
"Kathy Hochul will become governor and I believe she will step up to the challenge. We all wish her success," he said.
“God Bless,” Cuomo said at the end of his last speech as governor.