Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday derided a report on allegations that he sexually harassed 11 women as a “political firecracker” as he delivered a defiant farewell address on his final day in office before his resignation takes effect.

“The attorney general’s report was designed to be a political firecracker on an explosive topic, and it worked,” Cuomo said, reiterating that his initial instinct was to fight what he characterized as an “unfair and unjust” inquiry into his actions.

But, he said, “prolonging this situation could only cause governmental paralysis and that is not an option for you and not an option for the state, especially now.”

Cuomo announced plans to resign on Aug. 10 in an effort to head off a looming impeachment effort in the state Assembly that was triggered by an investigation overseen by New York Attorney General Letitia James. The probe found that he also oversaw an unlawful attempt to exact retribution against one of his accusers.

Ahead of the address, which Cuomo also used to tick off accomplishments of his three terms, a statement was issued by his top aide, Melissa DeRosa, claiming that Cuomo would not seek political office again.

“He looks forward to spending time with his family and has a lot of fishing to catch up on,” DeRosa said. “He is exploring a number of options, but has no interest in running for office again.”

Cuomo will be replaced at midnight by Democratic Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who will be New York’s first female governor and will serve out the rest of Cuomo’s term until the next election in November 2022.

In his remarks, Cuomo said he thinks Hochul “will step up to the challenge” but he took a not-so-thinly-veiled swipe at outgoing Democratic New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, with whom he frequently feuded.

“Eric Adams will be the next mayor of New York City,” Cuomo said, referring to the Democratic nominee in the November election. “I think you’ll bring a new philosophy and competence to the position, which can give New York City residents hope for the future.”

Cuomo also thanked his staff and family, saying, “Public service is a family affair.”

Cuomo did not delve into the specifics of James’ report as he opened his remarks Monday.

“There will be another time to talk about the truth and ethics of the recent situation involving me,” he said. “But let me say now that when government politicizes allegations and the headlines condemn without facts, you undermine the justice system. And that doesn’t serve women and it doesn’t serve men or society.”

Cuomo said he was proud of his record as a progressive governor, ticking off several accomplishments, including bringing the coronavirus caseload down in New York.

“Please don’t forget what we learned together last year and don’t forget what we accomplished,” he said. “We went from the highest infection rate in the nation to the lowest.”

The legislative investigation was looking at issues beyond the alleged sexual harassment, including Cuomo’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic in nursing homes, claims that he arranged preferential virus testing to friends and family members, and reports that he used state resources to write a book.


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