Officials praise Cuomo accusers as New York governor announces resignation

Officials in New York and Washington, D.C., on Tuesday praised the women who came forward with allegations of sexual harassment that led to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to resign.

The Democratic governor’s decision to resign, announced Tuesday but not effective for 14 days, came after Cuomo resisted calls to step down for months as current and former state employees publicly accused him of inappropriate and harassing behavior.

President Joe Biden joined those calling for Cuomo’s resignation last week.

“Our view is this is a story about these courageous women who came forward, told their stories, shared their stories and an investigation overseen by the attorney general that of course concluded today in an outcome that the president called for just last week,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during a Tuesday briefing with reporters.

Biden has not spoken to Cuomo, Psaki said, and the White House wasn’t notified ahead of Cuomo’s Tuesday press conference.

Asked by reporters during a Tuesday press conference to assess Cuomo's term as governor, Biden said "he's done a hell of a job. I mean both on everything from access to voting to infrastructure, the whole range of things. That’s why it’s so sad.”

Cuomo to resign

On Aug. 3, New York Attorney General Letitia James released a report that found Cuomo had violated state and federal laws as he sexually harassed 11 women, nine of whom were state employees.

That report proved to be the downfall for Cuomo, once seen as a possible alternative to Biden’s candidacy in the Democratic presidential primary as he was thrust into the national spotlight while sparring with President Donald Trump over the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More: Andrew Cuomo to resign: A timeline of the New York governor's life and political career

“Today closes a sad chapter for all of New York, but it’s an important step towards justice,” James said Tuesday.

Other elected officials from both sides of the aisle in New York agreed that Cuomo’s decision to resign was the right one.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted on Tuesday that it was "past time" for Cuomo to resign.

"Make no mistake, this is the result of survivors bravely telling their stories," he wrote.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., agreed.

“First, I want to commend the brave women who stepped forward and courageously told their stories. There is no place for sexual harassment, and today’s announcement by Governor Cuomo to resign was the right decision for the good of the people of New York,” he said. “I have full confidence that Lt Governor Hochul will establish a professional and capable administration. I have spoken with Lt Governor Hochul and look forward to working together to help the people of New York.”

More: Kathy Hochul's political views: How New York's next governor rose to power

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said she thought Cuomo had to resign after women made numerous credible allegations against him and he lost support of his governing partners.

“I think the governor did the right thing,” Gillibrand said. “I just want to commend the brave and courageous women who came forward.”

Gillibrand praised Cuomo’s successor.

“Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will be an extraordinary governor,” Gillibrand said. “She understands the complexities and needs of our state having been both a congresswoman, and having been lieutenant governor for the last several years. She is ready and able and capable of being an extraordinary governor, and I look forward to supporting her and helping her as she turns towards governing our state, in a very difficult and challenging time.”

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., said in a prepared statement that Cuomo's resignation is overdue.

"New Yorkers have lived for far too long under the worst governor in America's corrupt and criminal tenure," she said, calling it a "disgraceful chapter in New York's history."

Stefanik also criticized Cuomo for the undercounting of COVID-19 deaths in New York nursing homes and a $5 million deal the governor landed to write a book about leading during the pandemic. James is investigating whether Cuomo illegally used state resources for the book.

"Good riddance, Andrew Cuomo," U.S. GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tweeted Tuesday. "New Yorkers still deserve justice – for his crimes and his disastrous handling of the pandemic, including his nursing home orders, coverup, and personal profiteering."

Kristine Phillips, Bart Jansen and Savannah Behrmann contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Officials praise Cuomo accusers after New York governor resigns