Cuomo, in Defiant Farewell Address, Says the Truth Is ‘Always Revealed’
In his final address on his last day in office, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York claimed on Monday that “intense political pressure and media …
In his final address on his last day in office, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York claimed on Monday that “intense political pressure and media frenzy” had caused a rush to judgment on sexual harassment allegations made against him, ultimately leading to his resignation.
Mr. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat, struck a defiant tone in his final remarks, which he used to continue questioning the fairness of a state attorney general report that found he sexually harassed 11 women, including government employees.
Mr. Cuomo likened the report to a firecracker which started a “stampede,” adding that there “will be another time to talk about the truth and ethics of the recent situation involving me.”
“The truth is, ultimately, always revealed,” he 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.”
The farewell address, which was prerecorded, was broadcast on his last day in office after a decade-long tenure came to an abrupt end. It came nearly two weeks after he announced his resignation on the heels of the attorney general report, which surfaced and corroborated the sexual harassment allegations.
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will be sworn in as governor at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, becoming the first woman to hold the state’s highest office.
Mr. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat, had kept mostly out of sight since announcing his plans to resign Aug. 10. He filed his retirement papers with the state, signed a handful of bills into law and was busy moving his belongings out of the Executive Mansion in Albany.
But over the last few days, Mr. Cuomo re-emerged in person, holding two storm-related briefings and directing his personal lawyer, Rita Glavin, to conduct a 22-minute virtual presentation on Friday designed to push back on the attorney general report. Ms. Glavin also sought to cast doubt on the accounts from many of the women who accused the governor of inappropriate behavior.
Over the weekend, Mr. Cuomo donned his preferred role as crisis manager one last time, holding two virtual briefings in New York City to discuss the state’s preparations for Tropical Storm Henri. The briefings — replete with PowerPoint slides, some pointed questions from the press and mentions of “New York tough,” the motto Mr. Cuomo popularized during the pandemic — recalled the coronavirus briefings that catapulted Mr. Cuomo to national fame before his demise.
On Monday, Melissa DeRosa, the governor’s top aide, issued a statement seeking to tamp down speculation swirling about Mr. Cuomo’s future and whether he might run for governor again next year. Ms. DeRosa announced her plans to resign two days before Mr. Cuomo did, and her resignation goes into effect at midnight as well.
“He looks forward to spending time with his family and has a lot of fishing to catch up on,” Ms. DeRosa said. “He is exploring a number of options, but has no interest in running for office again.”
Mr. Cuomo leaves office with a massive $18 million campaign war chest, by far the most out of any politician in the state. It remains unclear where Mr. Cuomo, who does not own property, will live after he moves out from the Executive Mansion, which is just a few blocks away from the State Capitol.
Someone close to him said he has considered renting a house in Westchester County, where he has lived before and where his sister Maria Cuomo lives. Indeed, on Friday, moving trucks transported boxes from the governor’s mansion in Albany to his sister’s home in Westchester.
His public schedule on Monday said only that Mr. Cuomo was “in the New York City area.”