Andrew Cuomo defended his record over a decade as governor of New York and portrayed himself as the victim of a “political firecracker on an explosive topic” on Monday, as he prepared for a midnight power transfer that will make Lt Gov Kathy Hochul the state’s first female governor.
クオモ, a Democrat, was set to end his term at 11.59pm, just under two weeks after he announced he would resign rather than face an impeachment battle over sexual harassment allegations which he denies.
Hochul was scheduled be sworn in just after midnight by the state’s chief judge, Janet DiFiore, in a brief, private ceremony.
In a pre-recorded farewell address, released at noon, Cuomo boasted of making government effective, cited his work battling the Covid-19 pandemic and struck a defiant tone on the harassment allegations.
He said the report that triggered his resignation – a scathing account of what the state attorney general, Letitia James, said was sexual harassment or inappropriate touching of 11 women – was “designed to be a political firecracker on an explosive topic, and it did work”.
“There was a political and media stampede.”
But he said prolonging his fight in office “could only cause governmental paralysis and that is just not an option for you and not an option for the state, especially now”.
Some critics jumped on Cuomo’s last remarks as self-serving.
“100000000 opportunities to be a better leader. Chose himself every time. Goodbye, Governor Cuomo,” tweeted state assembly member Yuh-Line Niou, another Democrat.
The switch in leadership was happening in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Henri, which narrowly missed Long Island but dumped rain over parts of the Catskill Mountains and Hudson River Valley.
The storm drew Cuomo back out into public view, albeit briefly. He gave two televised briefings – warning New Yorkers to take the storm seriously with the same mix of scolding and reassurance that once made his daily Covid-19 briefings popular.
声明の中で, Cuomo’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, said the governor was exploring his options but had “no interest in running for office again”.
Hochul, also a Democrat, will inherit immense challenges as she takes over an administration facing criticism for inaction in Cuomo’s distracted final months in office.
Covid-19 has refused to abate. Schools are set to reopen. The economic recovery from the pandemic is still incomplete.
Hochul will need to quickly build her own team of advisers who can help steer the administration for at least the next 16 月. She announced the appointments of two top aides: Karen Persichilli Keogh will become secretary to the governor and Elizabeth Fine will be Hochul’s chief legal counselor.
She plans to keep on Cuomo-era employees for 45 days to allow her time to interview new hires, but said she will not keep anyone found to have behaved unethically. 少なくとも 35 employees in the governor’s office have left since February.
Hochul, who said she didn’t work closely with Cuomo and wasn’t aware of the harassment allegations before they became public, has vowed no one will ever call her workplace “toxic”.
“I have a different approach to governing,” Hochul said last week in Queens, 追加: “I get the job done because I don’t have time for distractions, particularly coming into this position.”
Cuomo’s resignation won’t end his legal problems. An aide who said Cuomo groped her breast has filed a complaint with the Albany county sheriff.
別々に, Cuomo was facing a legislative investigation into whether he misled the public about Covid-19 deaths in nursing homes to protect his reputation as a pandemic leader and improperly got help from state employees in writing a pandemic book that may net him $5m.
Hochul has said she plans to run for a full four-year term next year. She’ll do so as the state Democratic party grapples with an internal struggle between moderates and liberals.
Hochul, who represented a conservative western New York district in Congress for a year and has a reputation as a moderate, is expected to pick a left-leaning state lawmaker from New York City as her lieutenant governor.
State Democratic chair Jay Jacobs praised Hochul as “formidable”.
“She’s very experienced and I think she’ll be a refreshing and exciting new governor," 彼は言った.